Speech on Notice of Motion on Orlando

Mr Speaker,

The Labour Party joins with the government in expressing our horror at this atrocity and our love and sympathy are with the victims and their families.

Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando and of the United States, as well as their representatives here in New Zealand.

Mr Speaker this was an atrocious and hateful act.

It was an act of terror. It was also a hate crime.

It was a targeted attack on the LGBTI community.

It was the deliberate mass murder of LGBTI people because of who they were and who they loved.

These young people were attacked and murdered in a place that was meant to be safe for them.

That was meant to be a haven where they could go to dance and have fun and be themselves.

This was a place where they wouldn’t be subject to homophobia or violence or hatred.

And in that place, in that sanctuary, they were murdered in cold blood.

Mr Speaker, like millions of people around the world, we have all seen the heart breaking details that have emerged about this shooting.

The stories of first responders arriving at the scene to a chorus of ringing cell phones as the families of those hurt and killed desperately tried to contact their loved ones.

The story of Eddie Justice, who was able to hide in the bathroom of the night club long enough to send his mother a text telling her he loved her and whose mother then had to read the horrifying words “He’s coming, I’m gonna die.”

Mr Speaker, this attack has broken hearts around the world.

But while we mourn and we grieve we must also rededicate ourselves to the great universal values of humanity which attacks like this seek to deny and destroy.

Inclusion. Openness. Respect. Love.
We must reaffirm our commitment to a society where everyone is free to love who they choose, worship how they choose and to be themselves without fear of violence or repression.

We must reaffirm our commitment to ending bigotry and intolerance and hatred wherever we find it, because that’s what true freedom means.

While we grieve and we mourn, we remind ourselves that love is love and love is stronger than hate.

And that together, we will not let hate win.

Thank you.