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Images: Views And Counter Views At Destiny Protest

Recording The Views And Counter Views At Destiny Protest


Story & Images By Derek Cheng


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The "Enough is Enough" protesters gather at Civic Square.

About 5000 protesters were met by counter-rallies when they marched to Parliament yesterday in opposition to the proposed Civil Unions Bill. Auckland-based Destiny church organised the protest. Leader Brian Tamaki had said they were marching for family values and the institution of marriage.

Destiny supporters wore black t-shirts with the slogan: “Enough is enough.” When they arrived at Parliament shortly after noon, about 1500 counter-protesters welcomed them with chants such as “hey hey, ho ho, homophobia has got to go”.


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Rows of black t-shirts stand in position as fellow Destiny protesters surround the orange balloons of the pro-civil union crowd.

The two counter-rally groups, organised by Against Conservative Fundamentalism and Victoria University's UniQ, had orange balloons and wore colours to contrast Destiny’s black.

Destiny’s protest began with a kapa haka group, many of them children, followed by a rendition of the national anthem.

Mr Tamaki then addressed his supporters, saying the march was being held, “so young people have a future”.

"The cornerstone of any nation is family. And the cornerstone of family is marriage,” he said. "We are here to uphold and protect the institution of marriage." He cited suicide rates, crime, and drug and alcohol abuse as indications of the welfare of society.

He threatened the Labour Party with their jobs unless they withdrew the Civil Unions Bill, offering to help Helen Clark draw up a "healthy family policy".


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The counter-protest march organised by Against Conservative Fundamentalism makes its way down to parliament.

Meanwhile the counter-protesters chanted “shame on Tamaki” throughout his speech.

Tipene Christian, of the Embassy for the Kingdom of Heaven, was one of many protesters who believed the bill was against God’s word.

"What does the Bible say about homosexuality – it’s an abomination,” he said. "They have no right. But it will be on their heads when Christ returns."

He said same-sex relationships should not be illegal and people should be allowed to choose, a position he later reversed: "They should not have laws that allow same-sex couples.”

Lew Andrews, a retired 77-year-old, agreed: "Homosexuality should be illegal." Marriage between a man and a woman is the Christian way, he said.

A group of teenagers in black t-shirts said they were making a stand for the next generation. Aden Tester, 15, said: "If everyone were gay, there would be no life."

Protester John Stanley was marching for traditional family values. He was with his family, making a stand against the degradation of society. "Three more teens hung themselves the other week ... 12-year-olds and womenfolk getting raped in their own homes.” He said the march indicated how strongly people were against the bill. If people supported it, they would surely be marching for it, he said.

Counter-protester Tony Cunneen questioned why Destiny had chosen to wear black, saying it gave them an intimidating, military presence. He believed in human rights, "for people that love each other and are of the same sex".


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Pro-civil union teenagers from left - Oliver Butt, 14, Zack Dorner, 14, and Ben McNulty, 16.

Oliver Butt, 14, agreed that the issue is civil rights. "In a gay couple, if one of them dies and they have been together for 20 years, their partner has no rights."

Ben McNulty, 16, said family stability did not rely on marriage. "I have friends with single parents, and they are all perfectly good people.

“Marriage is not affected by this bill. People can still get married under God. The bill is about the rights of those in same-sex unions.”


Destiny protesters chanting "Enough is enough".

Derek Cheng is a Massey University Wellington Journalism student.

ENDS

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