NEW ZEALAND is expected to allow gay couples to marry when Parliament makes its final vote on the issue this week.
Labour MP Louise Wall’s marriage equality member’s bill is set to have its third and final reading in Parliament on Wednesday evening.
The bill sailed through the committee stages with 77 MPs voting in favour and 43 against.
It is unlikely there will be much vote swapping.
Should the bill pass, the first wedding will not take place until mid-August.
The vote is expected to draw a big crowd to the public gallery.
Gay Green MP Kevin Hague said there had been massive support for the bill, not only from the same-sex community but straight people as well.
“I just feel enormously grateful to them because they have no personal stake in it, they just say this is the right thing to do,” he told Fairfax NZ.
The passing of the legislation would remove the last legal inequalities for homosexuals.
“After this bill passes we will effectively have equality under the law, which is one of the basic human rights.”
Parties and celebrations are planned around the country, should it pass.
There is opposition to the bill, with The Conservative Party and lobby group Family First both running campaigns against it.
Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie wants people to sign a pledge saying they won’t vote for an MP or political party that supports Wall’s bill.
“The definition of marriage should stay as traditionally and commonly conceived – not one manipulated by politics and political correctness.”
The vote is a conscience issue, meaning MPs don’t have to follow a party line.