Aug 072012
Whangarei City from Mount Parihaka

The topic of gay marriage may be causing a stir in Parliament but Whangarei residents are clearly in support.

Politicians have been considering legalising same-sex marriage after Labour MP Louisa Wall’s “marriage equality” bill was drawn from the members’ ballot box late last month.

The bill defines marriage as a union of two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, and will have implications for gay adoption.

While Prime Minister John Key says he is not against the bill, other politicians including Whangarei MP Phil Heatley have declared they are against it.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says it should be a matter for referendum.

But people on the streets of Whangarei interviewed by Whangarei Leader reporter Denise Piper say they either support legalising gay marriage or say they are not fussed if it is legalised.

Chantelle Ropiha, 20, says gay marriage should be legal.

“I think everyone’s entitled to their own choices in life, to be with whoever they want to be with, whether it’s the same sex or not.”

Karen Mark, 21, says she doesn’t have an opinion about gay marriage.

“For me I’ve had both [gay and straight relationships] so I don’t mind really. My opinion will probably stay the same whether it’s legalised or not.”

Az Martin, 26, says marriage is up to the individual.

“I’ve got a gay sister and it doesn’t really bother me which way she swings. With marriage it should be up to them, it shouldn’t be up to anyone else.”

Anthony Rotherham, 19, is unconcerned about legalising gay marriage.

“I don’t really care, let them do what they want, as long as it doesn’t involve me then it’s all good.”

Rose Rowe, 70, supports choice.

“I suppose it’s everyone’s choice. I don’t particularly agree with it [being gay] but it’s the individual’s choice.”

Ashleigh Stanbridge, 25, believes gay marriage should be legalised.

Kura Dinsdale, 58, supports gay marriage because she is gay.

“Yes it should be legal because I’m one. There’s not really much difference between a civil union and a marriage but my friends are able to get married. I would prefer to be allowed to get married.”

Hayden Smith, 35, is also in support of legalising gay marriage.

“Traditional male-female marriage has come from religion and we’re not a religious state so why not have same sex marriage? If they’re in love, they’re in love, so why not?”