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Same-sex marriage legalised

Wednesday 17 Apr 2013 9:30 p.m.

Marriage between same-sex couples has been legalised tonight after Labour MP Louisa Wall's bill passed its final hurdle at Parliament.

MPs voted 77-44 in favour of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, introduced last year from the private member's ballot.

It makes New Zealand the 13th country in the world – and the first in the Asia-Pacific region – to legalise same-sex marriage.

Ms Wall told Parliament that tonight's vote sends New Zealand down a path of healing.

"It now includes all citizens in our state institution of marriage regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity," she says.

Hundreds lined up outside Parliament before the debate to get a seat in the public gallery and another room was also packed out with supporters watching on a big screen.

The public gallery erupted into song after Deputy Speaker Lindsay Tisch announced the bill had passed its final hurdle.

Pokarekare Ana echoed around the debating chamber and most politicians joined in to celebrate the bill's passing.

Flowers, were presented to Ms Wall by various Parliamentarians who also shared hugs and kisses.

Before the vote was made, a number of MPs spoke to bill, including National's Maurice Williamson who made light of all the 'hate mail' he has been sent.

"I've had a reverend in my local electorate say the 'gay onslaught will start the day this law is passed'. Well, we are struggling to know what the gay onslaught is," he said.

"We don't know if it will come down the Pakuranga highway as a series of troops or whether it will be a gas that flows over the electorate that blocks us all in."

His colleague Chester Borrows voted against the bill, although hinted briefly in his speech that he would support it.

Cheers erupted when he said discussions with his gay friend had him "along a line which has got me to change my view in respect to gay things."

Green Party MP Kevin Hague spoke of his own experience of having a gay partner for almost 29 years and his struggle for acceptance and equality.

"Over the years I have campaigned hard for the right of our community not to be outsiders anymore," he said.

"The stigma associated with our inferior status is associated with substantial higher rates of suicide, depression, HIV risk, violence and other risks to our health and well-being."

He finished by taking a swipe at Family First and Catholic Action who have actively campaigned against the bill.

"The world will be a better place now," he said.

Tau Henare told MPs that today was the right time, saying the sky won't fall in.

Same-sex couples wanting to get married will have to wait around four months before they can tie the knot because the Department of Internal Affairs has to upgrade its computer systems.

The Speeches:

The Numbers: How MPs voted

In favour of the bill (77):

Labour:

Louisa Wall, David Shearer, Grant Robertson, David Parker, Jacinda Ardern, Clayton Cosgrove, David Cunliffe, Shane Jones, Nanaia Mahuta, Maryan Street, Trevor Mallard, Phil Twyford, Lianne Dalziel, Chris Hipkins, Phil Goff, Annette King, Darien Fenton, Clare Curran, Ruth Dyson, Rajen Prasad, Parekura Horomia, Sue Moroney, Moana Mackey, Iain Lees-Galloway, Raymond Huo, Kris Faafoi, David Clark, Andrew Little, Megan Woods, Carol Beaumont (30)

Greens:

Entire caucus (14)

Mana Party:

Hone Harawira (1)

Maori Party:

Entire caucus (3)

Act:

John Banks (1)

United Future:

Peter Dunne (1)

National:

John Key, Judith Collins, Hekia Parata, Paula Bennett, Kate Wilkinson, Craig Foss, Chris Tremain, Maurice Williamson, Jackie Blue, Tau Henare, Nicky Wagner, Nikki Kaye, Jami-Lee Ross, Cam Calder, Scott Simpson, David Bennett, Paul Hutchison, Chris Auchinvole, Aaron Gilmour, Paul Goldsmith, Tim Groser, Steven Joyce, Maggie Barry, Jo Goodhew, Amy Adams, Jacqui Dean (27)

Against the bill (44):

Labour:

Sua William Sio, Damien O’Connor, Ross Robertson, Rino Tirikatene (4)

NZ First:

Entire Caucus (9)

Independent:

Brendan Horan (1)

National:

Bill English, Gerry Brownlee, Tony Ryall, Murray McCully, Phil Heatley, Chester Borrows, Nick Smith, Colin King, Eric Roy, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Tim Macindoe, Alfred Ngaro, Simon O’Connor, Mike Sabin, Shane Ardern, Simon Bridges, Jonathan Coleman, Chris Finlayson, Nathan Guy, John Hayes, Melissa Lee, Sam Lotu Iiga, Todd McClay, Ian McKelvie, Mark Mitchell, Lindsay Tisch, Katrina Shanks, Michael Woodhouse, Anne Tolley, Jian Yang (30)

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