NZ legislature overwhelmingly votes for marriage

Timothy Kincaid

August 29th, 2012

In the first of three votes, the New Zealand parliament has overwhelmingly voted for marriage. (NZTV)

Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Marriage Amendment Bill was passed with 78 in favour and 40 against.

This margin suggests that there is a quite good chance that the bill will make it through all three readings to become law before the end of the year.

The motivation for the action is fascinating, and reflects comments I’ve read in a number of foreign news sources in the past several month. (WaPo)

The proposed changes here can be directly traced back to Obama’s declaration in May in support of gay marriage. That prompted center-right Prime Minister John Key to break his long silence on the issue by saying he was “not personally opposed” to the idea. Then lawmaker Louisa Wall, from the opposition Labour Party, put forward a bill she had previously drafted.

“If I’m really honest, I think the catalyst was around Obama’s announcement, and then obviously our prime minister came out very early in support, as did the leader of my party, David Shearer,” Wall told The Associated Press. “The timing was right.”

It may well turn out that the President’s evolution on marriage may impact equality globally sooner than it does locally.


August 29th, 2012

There were two more proxy aye votes added after the initial announcement. The final vote was 80 aye, 40 nay and 1 abstention in the 121 member chamber.

Even better!

David Waite

August 29th, 2012

Wonderful news from NZ, both on the vote count and the inspiring catalyst for the bill’s introduction. I believe this statement is very perceptive:
“It may well turn out that the President’s evolution on marriage may impact equality globally sooner than it does locally.”
I hadn’t envisioned this, Tim, until you wrote it. Once I read it, and thought about prophets not without honor saving in their own countries, and reflected on both American Obama-hatred and the effect his ‘evolution’ had on his and my community, I was able to say ‘but, of course’ very much after the fact. Thanks for your wisdom on this.

J. Peron

August 29th, 2012

Knowing the politically situation in New Zealand well, the American media’s claim that this had anything to do with Obama’s final evolution back to the position he originally held, is grossly exaggerated.

The National Party has only a small wing of religious folk and both the last two leaders of the party are atheists. At one point the head of 5 of 6 parties in New Zealand were non-believers. There is only a tiny religious right in NZ.

To say that because Key was asked about the issue, after Obama finally got around to it, does not mean his position was caused by Obama. Key himself said it was the result about thinking about his own kids. Mr. Shearer, being a member of the Left wing in parliament, would, of course try to claim that the Left was responsible, even though they hold a minority of seats. This measure was predicted to pass BEFORE Obama said anything. And, at least two such private member’s bills were the hopper to do this. Such bills are randomly picked, so they get dropped in and may never be pulled.

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