Councillors rally against 'anti-gay' protester

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 07:33 04/05/2012
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BEN STRANG

Kate Kennedy, who was was amazed and disappointed by Dale Evans' latest billboard on Kapiti Rd in Paraparaumu.

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Dale Evans
Jenny Rowan
Kapiti mayor Jenny Rowan.

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Kapiti district councillors have banded together to write an open letter accusing a local man of unacceptably anti-gay attacks on mayor Jenny Rowan.

Dale Evans, a Paraparaumu-Raumati community board member, emblazoned his community noticeboard in Paraparaumu with a message in pink paint declaring: "The gay times are over," as well as an attack on the level of council debt.

Four years ago Mr Evans caused outrage when he donned a Ku Klux Klan outfit to deliver a speech to the council.

Six months later he dressed as a woman to address the council, prompting Ms Rowan and chief executive Pat Dougherty to called the police and have him escorted from the building.

Now councillors Dianne Ammundsen, Roger Booth, Mike Cardiff, Ross Church, Peter Ellis, Penny Gaylor, K Gurunathan, Tony Lester, Tony Lloyd and Hilary Wooding have signed the open letter castigating Mr Evans' latest actions.

"This type of attack on the gay community does not only prejudice people within Kapiti but is an attack on the civil liberties of all New Zealanders," the letter says.

"This incident, coupled with Mr Evans' previous KKK episode beggars belief ... this type of gutter politics is not wanted on the Kapiti Coast."

Ms Rowan was New Zealand's first openly lesbian woman to be elected as a mayor.

Mr Evans said there was no intention to attack the mayor or any gay people.

"The dictionary says gay means good times, there was even a Johnny Gay ice-cream in the 50s. I have a few gay friends. If I was anti-gay, why would I get dressed up as a woman and go to council?

"This is PC gone wrong. Who gives the right for a certain section of society to block you out, stop someone saying what you want to say?

"There has always been a reason I have done things, maybe a bit different to the way other people do things, but always to get a message out there. Council [debt] is out of control."

Ms Rowan did not want to comment but a council spokesperson said she was visibly moved by councillors' support on the issue.

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- The Dominion Post

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