GAY MARRIAGE is one step closer to becoming law after Parliament passed a second reading in favour of the change.
It passed by 77 votes to 44, with both Prime Minister John Key and Labour opposition leader David Shearer supporting the bill.
Discussion in the house revealed the personal nature of the bill, and the pressures MPs faced in making the conscience decision.
Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe, who opposed the bill, said thousands of people had contacted their local MP.
While most were sincere, ”a few have been aggressive, insulting … and far more bigoted than anyone I’ve heard arguing for the status quo,” Fairfax NZ reported.
Mr Macindoe said his Christian faith did not allow him to support the bill.
National’s Chris Auchinvole said older people had “barrage to carry” from the days when homosexuality was called illegal and immoral.
But what he had learned from listening to submissions was that ”each homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, person appearing before us was not just to be seen as an individual, not just to be identified by gender preference but in fact as a mothers son, or daughter, and a fathers daughter or son, the sibling, to their brothers and sisters, grandchildren to their grandparents, nephew and nieces to their uncles and aunts and uncles and aunts to their nieces and nephews, cousins to their cousins.
”They are all family along with their heterosexual friends and relations and all are an integral part of the New Zealand, all part, in my mind, my heart and my conscience, of God’s family. I now realise that this bill seeks to put first something critics have accused it of undermining – and that is the family.”
Louisa Wall, who introduced the bill and is lesbian, said she was moved about the depth of feeling.
”We are normal, and we are entitled to the same rights as every other citizen.”
She said the bill was about marriage equality.
“Not about gay marriage, same sex marriage or straight marriage’.
”It’s about marriage between two people. There’s no distinction to be made. That is equality. Whether the form of that marriage is religious, secular or cultural is a matter for the couple to determine. Denying marriage to a person is to devalue that person’s right to participate fully in all that life offers. It’s essentially not recognising someone as a person. No state has the right to do that.”
National MP Tau Henare had a go at his own party, saying he was “appalled at some of the behaviour I’ve seen tonight and outright not telling the truth”.
That was thought to be in reference to last minute maneuvering among National MPs opposing the bill to try and get support for an New Zealand First amendment demanding a referendum.
Mr Henare lashed out at attempts by some National MPs to get him to withdraw his support for the legislation in favour of the referendum.
“If I was to believe them then why aren’t we having a referendum on asset sales?”