Nick Smith, an outgoing New Zealand MP, has apologised in parliament for voting against equal marriage in 2013.
The veteran lawmaker for the National Party signed off on his decades-long parliamentary career Thursday (10 June) after announcing his resignation last month.
Reflecting on 30 years in politics, Smith, 57, gave a valedictory speech in the House of Representatives where he admitted voting against marriage equality was “an issue I got wrong”.
The vote took place five years before Smith’s son, Logan, would come out as gay.
According to 1news, he said in the house: “Already at that time I felt my views were wrong.
“The error is all the more personal with my 20-year-old son being gay.
“I wish to put on record today my apology to New Zealand’s LGBT+ community.”
Because his apology was given in parliament, it will be recorded permanently on Hansard, near-verbatim reports on House matters.
Smith added: “I pay tribute to Louisa Wall, Fran Wilde and Amy Adams for their leadership that has improved the lives of my son and thousands of other New Zealanders.”
The MP is retiring from parliament for what he described as personal and professional reasons, after an inquiry into a “verbal altercation” he had with a staffer.
Nick Smith promised his son he would apologise
Speaking to 1news, Smith said he “owes an apology to the LGBT+ community in New Zealand”.
“I voted against gay marriage,” he said. “My son Logan told me about three years ago he was gay… I gave him a commitment that before I retired from parliament I would give that apology publicly.
“When Logan first told me, we went out for a meal and he had something important to tell me.
“I was worried it was something else so when he told me he was gay we had a big laugh and a big hug.”
Logan said he was “proud” of his father for apologising in parliament.
“I knew he had changed his views already and I knew he has been a supportive father all along the way,” he said.
“I think it’s just important to demonstrate people can learn and their views can change as an example to other people.”