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Former MP is baffled after becoming a gay icon in Japan

November 29, 2017

A former New Zealand MP was left baffled this week, after discovering he had become a gay icon in Japan.

Maurice Williamson, who used to represent Pakuranga in Eastern Auckland, has gone viral in the Asian country, thanks to a speech on gay marriage he made four years ago.

In his now iconic address to parliament in 2013, the National Party politician argued: “We are only legalising equal marriage, not nuclear war.

“I’ve had a reverend in my local electorate say, ‘The gay onslaught will start the day this law is passed.’ Well, we are struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like.

He adds: “We don’t know whether it will come down the Pakuranga Highway as a series of troops or whether it will be a gas that flows in over the electorate that blocks us all in.”

“I also had a Catholic priest tell me I was supporting an unnatural act. I found that quite interesting coming from someone who has taken an oath of celibacy for his whole life. I haven’t done it so I don’t know what it’s about.”

At the time, the impassioned and humorous speech quickly rose to internet stardom, where the former minister also claimed there was a “big gay rainbow” over his constituency.

Watch – Maurice Williamson’s Speech in 2013

New Zealand then became the 13th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, with a majority of 33 votes.

In a surprising turn of events this month the former MP has now become a big hit in Japan, earlier tweeting how it was “so unexpected”.

He added: “I am so happy to see such a huge increase in the number of new followers in the last few hours – many of them coming from Japan.

“I don’t know what’s driving it but I’m delighted. For the record: My oldest son Simon Kenya is half Japanese so I’m proud of the association. Welcome”

In fact, the clip resurfaced after comments by the General Council Chairman of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, Wataru Takeshita, who said gay partners of state guests should not be allowed to dine with the Emperor or Empress of Japan. He later apologised for his remarks.

While some cities in Japan recognise gay partnerships, gay marriage remains illegal.

Wataru Takeshita (Photo credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

One Japanese Twitter user then posted the video with Japanese subtitles in response to the comments, adding it was “a speech that was admired worldwide at that time.”

They also dedicated it to the “young people who haven’t heard it.”

More: Asia, Japan, New Zealand

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