04-17-2013, 10:46 AM
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New Zealand legalizes gay marriage
New Zealand passes gay marriage bill
New Zealand parliament has voted to make same-sex marriage legal.
MPs and those in the public gallery broke into applause and cheered as it was announced the vote passed with 77 votes to 44.
They then broke into song. After a two-hour debate, MPs were able to have their say on the Marriage Equality Bill.
MPs from both sides of the House lined up to hug the bill's sponsor, Louisa Wall.
She, National MP Tau Henare and Green MP Kevin Hague were presented with flowers.
Those opposed to the bill quietly left the public gallery.
During the two hour debate before the vote, many members had to share their speaking slots with others, so most could have their say.
Among the highlights was Green MP Mojo Mathers, who received a rousing applause, after she told the house how her daughter went to her first formal with her girlfriend last year.
"Like countless other young woman she hopes for love, marriage, children and a house with a white picket fence.
"All of those options are available to her older sister.
"To see them have equal rights before the law is very important to me."
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows caused a brief flurry of excitement after saying he was for equality.
However, he later clarified that he was still voting against the bill.
But he said he had become more open to gay couples since becoming an MP.
Star of the second reading National MP Chris Auchinvole reaffirmed his view that the bill should be passed.
He asked the younger generation show patience and consideration for those of his own generation to adjust to change "that will be very very new to us."
National MP Jonathan Young said he expected the vote to pass despite his voting against it.
"I believe our society is probably more divided than this House is on this issue."
Everybody wanted to celebrate their relationship, he said.
The debate was not about love because love could not be legislated against, he said.
"The human heart was to random and too romantic for that.
"Essentially the value of society that this marriage upholds is that you become my one and only."
Several people in the public gallery clapped loudly for him, including a couple who had been holding their hands up in prayer throughout the debate.
Labour MP Maryan Street said her job "rocked" because she could be here today to "do some good".
Street said her own daughter was born to two mothers and two fathers.
"She deserves a world where her family is as accepted as anybody else's."
On the other side of the house, though on the same side of the debate, National MP Maurice Williamson said years in Parliament taught him to ignore the fire and brimstone accusations.
NATIONS WHERE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL:
Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LEGISLATION PENDING:
Same-sex marriage is allowed in nine US states, Washington DC, and parts of Brazil and Mexico.