Opinion by Political Editor Duncan Garner
By tonight, the bill allowing same-sex marriage will pass its first reading.
It is a historic night for Parliament and for first term MP Louisa Wall, who is showing herself to be an expert organiser, lobbyist and communicator already.
She made a good point to me yesterday; gay New Zealanders can get any other licence in this country except a marriage licence.
So many MPs harp on about equality for all New Zealanders under the law - well here's their chance.
Bill English ran a campaign as National's leader in 2002 called "one law for all" - I bet he votes against this though.
My pick is close to 70 MPs will vote for it tonight. A few may drop off by the final vote. But my pick is it will go all the way.
The majority of the National caucus will vote against it and New Zealand First will most likely abstain - unless they get a referendum inserted in the law. Fat chance.
And isn't it fascinating watching some MPs around Parliament front up on this issue - while others duck and weave.
First, there's the 26-year turnaround of John Banks. From arch critic, homophobe and anti-gay rights campaigner in 1986, to today's version of the libertarian John Banks. Is it the same guy?
In 1986 Banks labelled homosexual law reform "evil" and the passing of the law as a "sad and sickening day." But oh, how the tables have turned.
He's effectively been rolled by his party. They've demanded the conservative becomes libertarian. This guy has even less credibility than he did post the Dotcom saga - if that's possible. He's a joke isn't he?
Banks has only seen the light because his job as the leader of the phone-booth ACT party demands it.
And then there is the true libertarian, Maurice Williamson, who doesn't care if you marry your dog. No wonder ACT wanted him in the party a few years ago.
A huge chunk of National MPs will vote against it.
Nick Smith says a marriage should be between a man and woman and Eric Roy says it's simply not necessary.
The Pacific MPs are getting roasted over this so most will vote no, although Labour's Kris Faafoi will vote yes.
And then there are those who strangely refuse to say which way they are going.
Why are Clayton Cosgrove and Gerry Brownlee so concerned about talking about this publicly? Is it their St Bede's "values?"
I bet they vote against it.
And then there are the lobbyists.
I just saw an MP who told me he was getting a text or email every minute from lobbyists on either this issue or the drinking age. Parliament is crawling with lobbyists right now. Maybe we should ban them?
Anyway, in a few hours gay marriage will be one step closer.
The bill will be sent to select committee for further consideration.
I say well done to Parliament. It doesn't affect me, but it's important to others. I've argued this in previous columns - but will the sky fall in? No.
Will marriage be undermined? No more than what heterosexuals have done to the institution over the past few hundred years. Get on with it. Pass it. Who cares?
But Louisa Wall's comments stick in my head; why shouldn't homosexual kiwis be able to get a marriage licence like straight people?
They should be able to.
And they soon will.