Green Party MP Kevin Hague says it's not a surprise the select committee looking at a bill that would legalise same-sex marriage has given it the go-ahead.
Labour MP Louisa Wall's Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its first reading last year, and is due for its second reading next month.
The only change the select committee has asked for is to clarify that no celebrant, recognised by a religious body or nominated by an approved organisation, would have to marry a couple if it meant contravening their beliefs.
"[I'm] very pleased that that's the majority conclusion of the select committee," Mr Hague told Firstline this morning.
"It's not a surprise – that's what submitters told us, and we know already I guess that most New Zealanders do support this, and it was a pretty emphatic win at the first reading for the bill."
The bill passed its first reading by a comfortable 40-seat margin. The select committee received 21,533 submissions on the bill, more than half in support.
Only 220 people showed up to talk about their submission in person. Mr Hague was on the select committee, and says some of the submissions against the bill were "hard to listen to".
"Particularly when I know that the people holding those views about people like me – gay and lesbian people – will be interacting with others who are perhaps less robust and less sure of ourselves as I am. But the overall impression I have is that, with very few exceptions, while the views that we heard on the select committee were strongly held, they were at least sincere."
Mr Hague has been with his partner for nearly 30 years. Previously he said he wasn't interested in getting married, after three decades doing fine without having any choice, but hearing so many submissions in support of the bill has him reconsidering.
"Listening to all of the submissions – particularly from young people, who are really passionate about the opportunity to marry, I can feel my romantic emotions stirring. Who knows?"