New Zealand Is The 13th Country In The World To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

New Zealand Is The 13th Country In The World To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Marriage between same-sex couples has been legalised tonight after Labour MP Louisa Wall's bill passed its final hurdle at Parliament.

New Zealand Is The 13th Country In The World To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

The world will be a better place now

MPs voted 77-44 in favour of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, introduced last year from the private member's ballot.

It makes New Zealand the 13th country in the world – and the first in the Asia-Pacific region – to legalise same-sex marriage.

Ms Wall told Parliament that tonight's vote sends New Zealand down a path of healing.

"It now includes all citizens in our state institution of marriage regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity," she says.

Hundreds lined up outside Parliament before the debate to get a seat in the public gallery and another room was also packed out with supporters watching on a big screen.

The public gallery erupted into song after Deputy Speaker Lindsay Tisch announced the bill had passed its final hurdle. Pokarekare Ana echoed around the debating chamber and most politicians joined in to celebrate the bill's passing.

Result announced, House erupts in song Flowers, were presented to Ms Wall by various Parliamentarians who also shared hugs and kisses.

Before the vote was made, a number of MPs spoke to bill, including National's Maurice Williamson who made light of all the "hate mail" he has been sent.

"I've had a reverend in my local electorate say the "gay onslaught will start the day this law is passed". Well, we are struggling to know what the gay onslaught is," he said.

"We don't know if it will come down the Pakuranga highway as a series of troops or whether it will be a gas that flows over the electorate that blocks us all in."

Cheers erupted when he said discussions with his gay friend had him "along a line which has got me to change my view in respect to gay things."

Green Party MP Kevin Hague spoke of his own experience of having a gay partner for almost 29 years and his struggle for acceptance and equality.

"Over the years I have campaigned hard for the right of our community not to be outsiders anymore," he said.

"The stigma associated with our inferior status is associated with substantial higher rates of suicide, depression, HIV risk, violence and other risks to our health and well-being."

He finished by taking a swipe at Family First and Catholic Action who have actively campaigned against the bill.

"The world will be a better place now," he said.

Tau Henare told MPs that today was the right time, saying the sky won't fall in.

Same-sex couples wanting to get married will have to wait around four months before they can tie the knot because the Department of Internal Affairs has to upgrade its computer systems.

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