NZ Prime Minister John Key says he supports gay marriage and will vote in favour of a bill allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot.
Mr Key told RadioLive NZ he would use a conscience vote to vote in favour of Labour MP Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill, pulled from parliament’s ballot last week.
“My view has been that if two gay people want to get married then I can’t see why it would undermine my marriage to Bronagh,” he said.
“There will be plenty of people in our caucus who will be deeply opposed – particularly the very religious ones, and I can understand that.”
Asked whether his conscience would change in the bill’s third reading, he said: “No”.
However, he added: “We first need to go and have the debates, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’m going to give myself a little bit of room.”
Mr Key, who voted against the Civil Union Bill, predicted debate over the bill wouldn’t be as “dramatic” as that over the homosexual law reform decades ago.
However, his comments may not be an indication as to whether the bill will become law because conscience votes are difficult to predict as there are 121 wild cards in the pack.
Opinion polls have shown a change in public opinion over gay marriage.
In 2004, 40 per cent were in favour and 54 per cent opposed, in 2011 60 per cent were in favour and in May this year that had increased to 64 per cent.
A few MPs have taken firm positions, including all 14 Green MPs who are going to back the bill all the way through and most of Labour’s 34 MPs are expected to support it.