TV reporter Matty McLean
has made a personal plea to Parliament to legalise gay
marriage so he can fulfil his father's wish to attend his
McLean told a select committee considering the legalisation
of same-sex marriage of the difficulty of growing up gay in
NZ and the signal that the government sent by not allowing
homosexual couples to marry.
"Put simply, I want the same rights that the majority of New
Zealanders are afforded because ... I truly believe that the
right to get married is a matter of human rights at its most
basic level," he said yesterday.
The Close Up reporter, who previously worked on Breakfast,
said writing his submission on the bill had reminded him of
his decision to reveal his sexuality to his father - a
rugby-playing, Speight's-drinking, construction company owner
from Central Otago.
"That was six years ago, and the first thing he told me was
how disappointed he was. Not in me, but in the things that he
thought I would miss out on.
"Like any parent, he had dreams of having a beer with me on
my wedding day and holding his first grandchild, and he was
concerned that I might miss out on those things.
"As it stands, I will. Because at the moment there isn't
marriage equality in this country."
He said that coming out as gay did not mean he was deciding
against having a family. "So please give me the right to get
married. Anything else just won't do. Because when I finally
stand at the altar, I want my dad to be sitting there in the
McLean argued that NZ had been a leader in women's rights and
anti-nuclear legislation, and should preserve its progressive
history by updating its marriage law.
"Let this be the next thing we're known for - giving all our
citizens equal rights, and that means letting anyone who
wants to, to get married."
Asked by the National MP for Invercargill, Eric Roy, what his
father would think about his submission, McLean replied: "I
got a text from him this morning. He read my submission, and
he said in his text, 'I've never been prouder of you. Go on
and make a difference'."
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald