NZ Herald 26 July 2012
A bill on whether to legalise gay marriage is to go before Parliament. The bill, submitted by Labour MP Louisa Wall and aimed at legalising same-sex marriage, has been drawn from the Members Bill Ballot. It was one of five drawn from a pool of 62 bills. The principal Marriage Act 1955 does not define marriage being between a man and a woman, but couples other than between a man and a woman have not been permitted to obtain marriage licences. The Marriage (Definition of Marriage Amendment Bill) submitted by Ms Wall makes it clear that marriage is a union of two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. A bill allowing a debate on same-sex marriage had double the chance of being drawn after Green Party MP Kevin Hague also had a private member’s bill in the ballot to legalise same-sex marriage. Mr Hague said “the time had come” for gay marriage in New Zealand. “One of the things we said was regardless of which bill got drawn, we’d both be putting our full weight behind them. I am very pleased to say I will be campaigning hard out to support Louisa’s bill.” He said it was likely the bill would have majority support at the first reading, because Prime Minister John Key has indicated he would support the bill in its early stages. “I think John Key’s support is quite important because within the National Party caucus that is effectively the green light for people who support the bill to be able to vote for it,” he said. Prime Minister John Key said last month he would support a bill to legalise same-sex marriage at its initial stage, but will not guarantee his support will continue through to the final reading that would see it become law.