Cheers, applause as New Zealand legalizes same-sex marriage

Rpt-WELLINGTON Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:51am IST

Related Video

Related Topics

Rpt-WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand's parliament voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage on Wednesday, prompting cheers, applause and the singing of a traditional Maori celebratory song from the public gallery.

Seventy-seven of 121 members of parliament voted in favor of amending the current 1955 Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry, making New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

"Two-thirds of parliament have endorsed marriage equality," Louisa Wall, the openly gay opposition Labour Party MP who promoted the bill, told reporters after the vote. "It shows that we are building on our human rights as a country."

The bill was widely expected to pass, given similar support for the change in a preliminary vote held last month. It will likely come into effect in August.

New Zealand becomes the 13th country to legalize same-sex marriages, after Uruguay passed its own law last week. Australia last year rejected a similar proposal.

Countries where such marriages are legal include Canada, Spain and Sweden, in addition to some states in the United States. France is close to legalizing same-sex marriages amid increasingly vocal opposition.

The bill was opposed by the Roman Catholic Church and some conservative religious, political and social groups which campaigned that it would undermine the institution of the family.

The law makes it clear that clergy can decline to preside in gay marriages if they conflict with their beliefs.

The law to allow same-sex marriages comes after New Zealand gave same-sex relationships partial legal recognition in 2005 with the establishment of civil unions.

"I have a boyfriend, so it means we can get married, which is a good thing," said Timothy Atkin, a student who was among a crowd listening to the hearing in the parliamentary lobby.

"It's important to be seen as equal under the law."

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Nick Macfie)

(This story was refiled to correct name to "Timothy Atkin" from "Timothy Atkins" in the 10th paragraph)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Celeb Buzz

REUTERS SHOWCASE

King's 'Revival'

King's 'Revival'

Stephen King's 'Revival' debuts at No. 1 on U.S. best-seller list.  Full Article 

Book Talk

Book Talk

Ten years on, Chetan Bhagat prepared to face critics  Full Article 

Death Of Aristocrat

Death Of Aristocrat

Duchess of Alba, the world's most titled aristocrat, dies  Full Article 

Mike Nichols Dies

Mike Nichols Dies

Award-winning American director Mike Nichols dies at 83  Full Article 

Hunt for Funds

Hunt for Funds

Feature: Looking to Fund Your Business? Ask Your Classmates. .  Full Article 

Uncanny Inspiration

Uncanny Inspiration

Three Thais detained for handing out tickets to Hunger Games  Full Article 

Art In China

Art In China

Irish abstract artist Scully paints for big walls in China  Full Article 

Not Alcoholics

Not Alcoholics

Most heavy drinkers are not alcoholics, U.S. study finds.  Full Article 

Barley Farming

Barley Farming

Want to live on the 'roof of the world'? Grow barley.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage