NZ passes same-sex marriage bill

Gay marriage

NZ has passed a bill legalising gay marriage becoming the first nation in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

Louisa Wall  - NZ MP Twenty seven years after decriminalising homosexuality, New Zealand this week passed the Marriage Equality Bill, which will allow same-sex couples to wed from late August.

Amidst shouts of jubilation, the Speaker announced the results of the conscience vote: 77 votes for and 44 against.

The private member’s bill was brought by gay Labour MP Louisa Wall who said, “I never would have thought that Parliament would have overwhelming supported it – so far two-thirds of Parliament have endorsed marriage equality.

“I think the cross party working group has been incredibly effective, but it also shows we are building on our human rights tradition as a country.”

The announcement was immediately followed by an emotional waita, the singing of the traditional Moari song Pokarekare Ane, which can be seen in the video below.

Scott Summerfield, 22, told the New Zealand Herald that it was a historic day for his country and that he was thrilled with the outcome.

“I just got a text from my mother … and I was quite thrilled to have her say she thinks I should have the same opportunities as my brother, who’s straight, so that’s really nice to have that support from my patents.

“It really feels great to be gay and alive in New Zealand at the moment. I’m really proud of the waiata we sung – it was amazing.”

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbot remain opposed to gay marriage with last year’s proposed marriage equality bill being defeated 98 to 42 in the House of Representatives.

UPDATE:  Just days later, on April 23, the French Parliament voted ‘oui’ to allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

Nations where same-sex marriages are legal:
Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay.

Nations where same-sex marriages are pending:

Nations with different rules from state to state:
Same-sex marriages are allowed in nine American states, Washington DC, as well as parts of Brazil and Mexico.

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