NZ Parliament Passes Same-sex Marriage Bill, Breaks into Song
New Zealand has become the 13th country to legalise same-sex marriage, completing a social revolution that began with the decriminalisation of homosexuality 27 years ago. After two hours of debate and heart-warming speeches from advocates of the change, the Marriage Amendment Bill was passed into law by 77 votes to 44. As the announcement was read, spectators watching in the public gallery spontaneously started singing a rousing rendition of Pokarekare Ana which clearly moved members of the house including the bill’s proponent Louisa Wall. Wearing a specially made rainbow jacket, Wall thanked her colleagues for “doing what is just, fair and right.” “In our society the meaning of marriage is universal,” said Wall. “It’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person.” The bill was voted on conscience rather than party lines, and succeeded in bringing together MPs from all sides of the house in an unusual show of cross-party activism. New Zealand’s first same sex marriages will take place in August of this year.