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Ashraf Choudhary to support Civil Union Bill

1 December 2004

Ashraf Choudhary to support Civil Union Bill

Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary announced today after lot of serious consideration and soul-searching he would support the Civil Union Bill because he believed New Zealand law had to treat everyone equally and fairly.

"If the law allows one minority group in our society to be discriminated against then all minorities are vulnerable," Mr Choudhary said.

"Over the last few years, Muslims and other ethnic people have been subjected to a great deal of pressure because of the difficult international situation. Throughout this time we have asked for tolerance from the people of New Zealand, and I believe it is incumbent upon us to show tolerance to others. For this reason I will vote for the Civil Union Bill at its second reading on Thursday.

"I do so knowing that not all members of the Muslim and wider ethnic community will agree with my decision. I remind those people that my conscience decision to support this bill is not an endorsement of homosexuality or gay marriage; it is an endorsement of the basic human values of equality, justice and respect for all peoples, which reflect traditional Muslim values.

"The job of a politician is to do what is best for his country and all its people," Mr Choudhary said.

"I believe if New Zealand is to be a peaceful multicultural society then we must agree to disagree about our differences. The law that applies to all of us must treat each of us equally and fairly. We must all have the same basic human rights.

"I note that Britain's two Muslim MPs, Mohammad Sarwar and Khalid Mahmood, and two other MPs of Indian origin also voted in favour of civil union legislation in the United Kingdom for the same reasons. Britain passed its civil union legislation last week."

ENDS

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