The Green Party missed an opportunity to make history this weekend writes News Editor Levi Joule.
Twice in the space of six months, both Labour and the Greens have said no to making history. Twice in the space of six months, experienced and charismatic gay leaders, both heavy favourites to win, were pipped at the post by their heterosexual competition.
It makes me wonder, is there some sort of a rainbow glass ceiling?
While it doesn’t appear that Kevin Hague’s sexuality was a major factor in his loss to James Shaw yesterday. (It certainly played a much less significant role in the more left wing Green party than it did for Grant Robertson during the Labour leadership battle.) The question remains, why has there never been a GLBT party leader in New Zealand?
There is a common perception that GLBT parliamentary representation is at some sort of all time high, when in fact, the 2014 election resulted in less GLBT representation in our nation’s house of representatives than there was prior.The reality is that things have gone backwards.
At a time when things are pretty bleak for GLBT representation, the election of an openly gay leader to the co leadership of New Zealand’s third largest party would have been a game changer.
Kevin Hague isn’t just some politician who happens to be gay. He has a long history of fighting for GLBT rights. From his involvement in the homosexual law reform campaign in the 80’s, to his time as executive director of the NZAF and most recently his involvement in passing marriage equality, Hague has proven himself to be one of New Zealand’s finest GLBT activists. Politicians of Hague’s calibre don’t come around very often.
Regardless of how one might feel about their politics, New Zealand’s young GLBT community needs to see role models like Kevin Hague and Grant Robertson win in order to prove that no position is out of reach. If political parties like the Greens or Labour really are serious about diversity, they need to show it by electing leaders from all walks of life, including members of the GLBT community.
Kevin Hauge had the experience, the charisma and the political talent to make a formidable Green party co leader.
However, just like those who have gone before him, Hague was only able to get so far before he hit the rainbow glass ceiling.
The Green party had an opportunity to make history and smash that glass ceiling this weekend – sadly they missed it.
Article | Levi Joule