A bill legalising same sex marriages made further progress in Parliament tonight.
The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill completed its second reading after a series of personal votes on the issue.
The first was on whether the amendments recommended by the select committee should be adopted – Ayes 66 Noes 21 Abstentions 2.
An amendment to the main motion that the bill be dealt with by way of referendum – Ayes 33 Noes 83. (This was later amended to Ayes 33 Noes 85.)
The bill completed its second reading by 77 to 44 to general cheers in the chamber and the public gallery.
The bill completed its first reading by 80 to 40.
The Bill’s sponsor Louisa Wall said the bill was about treating all people with respect and ending discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation.
Wall said those who had been lobbying against the bill because they said it would force churches and ministers to marry people against their beliefs were wrong.
Tim Macindoe argued against the bill and said there had been heavy lobbying from both sides of the argument which was causing great stresses in churches. Marriage was a religious institution and many with religious beliefs strongly believed that marriage was between a man and a woman, which the Government was now interfering with.
He said that while he believed God loved all people, God would not necessarily support this social change.
Chris Auchinvole said he had supported the bill to select committee to hear the arguments and was glad he had.
He had learnt that one thing all submitters agreed on was that marriage was important to everyone. Auchinvole said the bill was a secular one and would not affect churches, it would not lead to a rush of gay marriages nor would it make one bit of difference to his marriage of 41 years.
He would vote for the bill with a clear conscience and said it should be passed.
Trevor Mallard spoke of how society had moved on in a generational shift from when he had chaired the select committee 27 years ago which handled the legislation which legalised homosexuality. Then the debate had been bitter and venomous well beyond the levels caused by debate over the current legislation.
Winston Peters moved an amendment that the bill be deferred in favour of a referendum as it was not an issue that should be decided by Parliament with no MPs having a mandate to make the change and there was “nothing worse than a politician who thinks they know best”.
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