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A gay politician brought his baby to Parliament and the photos have understandably gone viral

Nick Duffy August 29, 2019
Labour MP Tamati Coffey with his son Tutanekai

Labour MP Tāmati Coffey with his son Tūtānekai

A gay politician in New Zealand is getting a lot of love after he brought his newborn son to work.

Labour MP Tāmati Coffey, who represents the Māori electorate of Waiariki, took his six-week-old son Tūtānekai to Parliament with him on August 21.

The MP, whose son with husband Tim Smith was born via a surrogate, received a lot of support from his fellow Parliamentarians.

Speaker Trevor Mallard even took on babysitting duties for Coffey’s speech, feeding Tūtānekai from a bottle while overseeing proceedings.

Speaker Trevor Mallard with gay MP Tāmati Coffey's son Tūtānekai
Speaker Trevor Mallard with gay MP Tāmati Coffey’s son Tūtānekai

A photo of Mallard with the child went viral, with the speaker tweeting:”Normally the speaker’s chair is only used by presiding officers, but today a VIP took the chair with me.

“Congratulations @tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family.”

Gay politician has had ‘nothing but support’ for new family.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Coffey said he had had “nothing but support from fellow MPs across the House, which has been really heartwarming”.

He said: “Trevor, back in his days as a Member of Parliament, actually voted for homosexual law reform here in New Zealand.

“It was the change in that that made it normal and OK to be gay, that made people like me think maybe one day I can have my own son, be in a relationship, and not [worry] too much.”

New Zealand ‘a much better society’ after reforms.

Mallard added: “It’s really good to see the societal change that’s occurred over the last 30 years. We are a much better society… I can’t imagine anyone criticising caring for kids.

“In our Parliament, we’ve been trying for a few years now to be family friendly.

“Some of us have a strong philosophical view that we want everyone to think about becoming an MP, including people with children.”

He added that the presence of babies in the chamber has had a “calming” influence on debates.

Same-sex marriage and adoption has been legal in New Zealand since 2013, and the country also permits “altruistic” non-commercial surrogacy arrangements.

Coffey is far from the only lawmaker juggling politics with becoming a new parent.

The country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a daughter in June 2018, stepping away from her official duties for six weeks of maternity leave.

Ardern later brought her daughter Neve Te Aroha onto the floor of the UN’s General Assembly in September, where she gave her debut speech.

More: baby, Gay, New Zealand, parliament

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