4 Dec 2017

Former New Zealand MP becomes gay icon in Japan

Maurice Williamson has found popularity in Japan over a speech in favour of same-sex marriage he made in 2013.

Four-year-old footage of a speech New Zealand lawmkaer Maurice Williamson gave during the third reading and vote on the Marriage Equality Bill in 2013 in Wellington has sprung the MP to fame in Japan.

The footage has become a battle cry for same-sex marriage in the country after recent comments made by Wataru Takeshita, the General Council Chairman of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party irked LGBT activists.

Takeshita later apologised for comments suggesting gay partners of state guests should not be allowed to dine with the Emperor or Empress of Japan.

A Twitter user posted part of Mr Williamson's speech with Japanese subtitles last week and said it was "a speech that was admired worldwide at that time." He dedicated it to, "young people who haven't heard it."

In his speech, Maurice Williamson says:

”All we are doing with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage. That is all we are doing. I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill right now. The sun will still rise tomorrow. Your teenager daughter will still argue back with you as if she knows everything. Your mortgage will not grow. You will not have skin diseases or rashes, or toads in your bed, the world will just carry on. So don't make this into a big deal."