11 Apr 2011

Gay groups demand apology over MP's comments

7:25 pm on 11 April 2011

Gay lobby groups are demanding an apology from Labour MP Damien O'Connor after he claimed the party's list was drawn up by "a gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists".

The party issued its list on Sunday, but Mr O'Connor had already opted out as he was unhappy with his likely ranking, and criticised the power of unions and gay people within the party.

The list MP will contest the West Coast Tasman seat in the election on 26 November. He lost the seat at the last election.

The MP on Monday apologised to Labour Party leader Phil Goff for his comments.

Rainbow Youth and the Aotearoa Rainbow Alliance believe Mr O'Connor should apologise to the gay community for what they say are homophobic comments.

Rainbow Youth director Thomas Hamilton says the comments are demeaning to gay people and are offensive.

Rainbow Alliance co-chair Michael Stevens says there is a myth that there is a core of gay people behind the Labour Party.

However, Mr Stevens says there is no evidence of this and believes Mr O'Connor is picking on a minority group.