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Mixed reception for Key at Big Gay Out

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 17:16 10/02/2013
John Key at Big Gay Out
ELLA BROCKELSBY

John Key mingles with drag queens at the Big Gay Out.

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John Key is usually popular at the largest gay pride event in New Zealand.

Today at the Big Gay Out he donned a yellow polo shirt and chatted convivially with drag queens, gay men and women and almost nude couples painted in tiger stripes. But when he took to the stage at the invitation of Miss Ribena, a drag queen with a penchant for purple, there was a slight shift in mood.

"F*** you John Key," several voices in the crowd called.

"Don't worry they must be from West Auckland," Miss Ribena said.

"That's alright," Key replied.

It was his seventh time at the event, which he attended soon after meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Queenstown. National MP Nikki Kaye also made an appearance after finishing the Coast to Coast yesterday.

Key spoke to the crowd and reaffirmed his plans to vote for Labour MP Louisa Wall's Marriage Amendment Bill, which would see same sex couples afforded the same rights of marriage as heterosexuals.

He championed that the rate of Aids contraction in gay men had dropped by 30 per cent in the last three years.

"He obviously meant HIV," said a woman after Key's speech.

"He doesn't know what he is talking about."

Key had recently downed more than a standard drink of beer in less than six seconds after losing a game of beer pong to Grey Lynn resident Mikala Collins so the mistake could be forgiven.

Aids develops out of contracted HIV.

And then, Auckland local Andy Lawrie attempted to reinforce the point that Key might not be as progressive as he purported. Lawrie was seen lowering a coat hanger affixed to a bamboo pole over the head of the Prime Minister.

"It's just a little reminder," he said.

On the coat hanger was a "gay" red shirt.

"It's just to make people remember."

Last year Key was lambasted for announcing on radio that the shirt his fellow radio announcer was wearing was a "gay red shirt". He later admitted he had picked up the usage from his children and used it as a synonym for "weird".

But still he had many supporters. 

"If he is supporting gay rights and gay marriage we will support him," said Cam Thompson.

Key said he hoped the Marriage Amendment Bill would be passed into law next year. 

"We will see a bunch of marriages."

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