Maurice Williamson: An unlikely gay icon

Maurice Williamson is, officially, a Gay Icon!

Maurice Williamson

According to New Zealand’s 3 News:-

Ellen DeGeneres at Hotel Bel Air in Los Angele...

Ellen DeGeneres at Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles attending Oprah Winfrey’s birthday party. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National MP Maurice Williamson has become an unlikely  gay icon following his  speech at the final reading of the same-sex marriage bill.

On Wednesday night Mr Williamson delivered a  masterclass in the use of humour as a weapon, introducing New   Zealand – and  the world – to memorable phrases like “the gay onslaught” and “most enormous big  gay rainbow” as he dismantled arguments against the bill, which passed  into law by a comfortable margin.

The speech, barely four minutes long, has been viewed  hundreds of thousands of times on sites like YouTube, the Huffington Post and  Gawker, and has Mr Williamson worried about how he’s going to follow it  up.

“I feel a little bit like ‘Gangnam Style’ now – what  am I going to do for an encore?” he said on Firstline this morning.

“I can hardly tweet, ‘There’s a meeting at the Howick  Community Board this Friday night,’ and get the same response.”

The veteran MP, who has held the Pakuranga seat for  National since 1987, says he’s had offers to go on big US talk shows like  The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but unfortunately the rules say he  can’t.

“They want to pay for me to go, and ministers are not  allowed to have anyone pay for you, so I can’t go.”

Mr Williamson seems to be enjoying his moment in the  spotlight, though he says some of the coverage has “gone a bit far”.

“One of the newspapers in New York claimed I was one  of New Zealand’s only openly gay MPs,” he laughs.

“That’s not quite true – my wife wanted to know  whether the New York Times knew something more than I did.”

No one could have predicted Mr Williamson would be the  breakout star of the gay marriage debate, but he says he’s been on the liberal  side of every vote since he became an MP.”I voted for weekend trading… there was a huge battle  in Parliament when we were going to open shops on the weekend. It was claimed to  be the end of our society as we know it, some of the church groups had marches  in the streets,” he says.

“I voted for prostitution reform, wine in  supermarkets. I might be quite a strong right-winger when it comes to economics,  but I’m very liberal on the social policy side.”

He was shocked by some of the “real nasty”  correspondence he received from the public after voting for the bill in its  earlier readings.

“What I found about the word ‘Christian’ is that some  people who profess to be Christian are the least Christian there are, in terms  of their attitude… To be threatened to burn in the furnaces of hell for  eternity, it doesn’t cut it with me. It just doesn’t work. I don’t know why in  the year 2013 anyone would resort to that.

“When people say, ‘We’ll never vote for you again,’  well that’s your call. Actually it doesn’t effect people’s vote – I’ve had that  over and over again, still get the same vote every election, it doesn’t  matter.”

For Mr Williamson, gay marriage is no big  deal.

“Let’s face it, it’s really quite trivial. All we’re  saying is that if two people love each other, why don’t we let them recognise  that with some sort of formal document? That’s all we’re doing. We’re not  declaring nuclear war on some foreign state or wiping out our agricultural  sector.

“But you would think when you listen to some of the  ardent opponents that this is the end of the world.”

Highlights from Maurice Williamson’s  speech

“We are really struggling to know what the gay  onslaught will look like. We don’t know if it’ll come down the Pakuranga highway  as a series of troops, or whether it’ll be a gas that flows in over the  electorate and locks us all in. I also had a Catholic priest tell me that I was  supporting an ‘unnatural act’. I found that quite interesting coming from  someone who’s taken an oath of celibacy for his whole life.”

“One of the messages I had was that this bill was the  cause of our drought. Well, if any of you follow my Twitter account, you will  see that in the Pakuranga electorate this morning, it was pouring with rain – we  have the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate. It has to be a  sign.”

“I also received a letter telling me I would burn in  the fires of hell for eternity, and that was a bad mistake because I’ve got a  degree in physics. I used the thermodynamic laws of physics – I put in my body  weight and my humidity and so on. I assumed the furnace to be at 5000 degrees,  and I will last for just on 2.1 seconds. It’s hardly eternity.”

“I give you a watertight, guaranteed promise: the sun  will still rise tomorrow. Your teenage 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.”

Read more: Maurice Williamson: An unlikely gay icon – Story – Politics – 3 News