Marriage Equality Bill Passes 77 to 44

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 — 9:41 PM

The bill allowing same sex marriage passed into law tonight to cheers from the public gallery and the majority of MPs in Parliament.

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its third reading by 77 to 44 on a conscience vote.

Support for the bill held up through all stages, at the end of the committee stage the bill was reported by 77 to 43.

The bill completed its second reading by 77 to 44 and its first reading by 80 to 40.

The bill’s sponsor Louisa Wall said there were few times the House’s public gallery was full to overflowing.

“This Bill has seen a full gallery at the first and second readings and again tonight. My only other experience of that has been Treaty settlement legislation recording the agreement reached between Maori and the Crown.

“In both instances the parties affected are a minority group who’ve been marginalised. They’ve been dealt with unjustly under the law and steps are being taken to right the wrongs they’ve suffered.’’

National Minister Maurice Williamson assured opponents of the bill that the world would not end with the passage of the bill and their lives would not change.

Winston Peters said most New Zealanders sat in the middle on this issue and did not like the extreme arguments put by either side.

NZ First would oppose the bill because the issue should be put to a referendum as no one had campaigned on it at the last election and there was no mandate.

An attempt by Peters to seek a referendum on the issue was voted down by MPs at an earlier stage.
National MP and former NZ First Deputy Leader Tau Henare said Peters had developed his policy and his “shyster speech’’ to pander to bigots at the extreme end of the argument.

ACT MP John Banks Mr Banks voted against decriminalising male homosexuality in 1986, but voted for the marriage bill tonight.

At its final reading in Parliament, he described the Homosexual Law Reform Bill as “evil”.

Voting for the bill tonight, Banks said he had been wrong, and he and the country had changed. The issue was one of simple human rights and while his vote was not necessary it was important for the record and the gay community that it was recorded.

National MP Chester Burrows said he supported gay marriage as two people who loved one another should be allowed to love one another equally under the law.

Though later in the speech he said he would vote against the bill because the debate should be about the nature of marriage.

Jonathan Young said marriage was a matter of history and tradition and its present definition should be retained.

It was reported that two MPs changed their vote from the last stage with David Bennett moving from no to yes and Rino Tirikatene from yes to no.

The House rose after the vote and will resume tomorrow at 9am under extended hours.

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