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New Zealand Moves Close To Marriage Equality

Jim Burroway

March 13th, 2013

The New Zealand Parliament approved a marriage equality bill 77-44 in the second of three votes yesterday:

Labour MP Louisa Wall’s bill passed by 77 votes to 44 votes late last night in front of a near-full public gallery, a drop in support of 3 votes from the first reading. Cabinet ministers Gerry Brownlee, Jonathan Coleman and Murray McCully and National MP Ian McKelvie voted against after initially supporting the bill. An attempt by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters to delay the law change until a referendum could be held at the 2014 general election was voted down by a margin of 83 votes to 33.

The debate surrounding the bill apparently has been acrimonious:

National MP Chester Borrows, who described himself as a conservative Christian, slammed the “abhorrent” way that various groups – including churches – had conducted themselves in the debate. Mr Borrows opposed the bill because he did not believe that changing the definition of marriage helped achieve equality in long-term relationships. But he stressed that the discussion had brought out the worst in Christian communities, saying that some colleagues had changed their opposing vote because of the hatred expressed by some opponents.

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Patrick C
March 13th, 2013 | LINK

I have been in New Zealand for the past six weeks. I have seen far less acrimony or debate here than I see in the States. Significantly, the youth branches of all the major political parties (I think about 8 of them) signed a joint agreement in favour of marriage. The only “dissent” was New Zealand First, whose youth were in support but said it should be put to the public in a referendum. The feeling I get is that it is a done deal. New Zealand has always been a leader in civil equality for groups and I think the majority see this as an issue of fairness, particularly the youth.

Timothy Kincaid
March 13th, 2013 | LINK

In New Zealand’s three-vote system, the first vote does not indicate support for the merits of the bill. It is more of a “shall we debate this” vote.

Vote number two is the biggie. It’s the “yes I support this” vote, followed by number three’s “yep, nothing has changed” vote.

Timothy Kincaid
March 13th, 2013 | LINK

And, as expected, New Zealand is not on NOM’s map.

Their last comment about that nation was a delirious report that support for equality in one poll was about ten points lower than some other previous poll. The poll that had them dancing for joy had support at 54% and opposition at 38%.

Since then, not so much joy about NZ.

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