Add one more to the list! According to the Huffington Post, the nation became the 13th in the world and first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage. In a country where two-thirds of the population supports marriage equality, it comes as no surprise that the Marriage Amendment bill passed.
Last night, politician Maurice Williamson delivered an uplifting and hilarious speech to parliament regarding marriage equality.
I’ve had a reverend in my local electorate say the ‘gay onslaught will start the day this law is passed’. So, we are struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like. We don’t know if it will come down the Pakaranga highway as a series of troops or whether it will be a gas that flows over the electorate and blocks us all in.
Fittingly, Williamson concluded his address with a verse from the Bible, Deuteronomy 1:29, Be not afraid.
Such a remark lifted the spirits of those who were present. As such, after the bill passed, lawmakers and parliament broke into a celebratory melody, singing the nation’s love song “Pokarekare Ana.”
Since 2005, New Zealand has only permitted civil unions, which come with limited legal rights for LGBT couples looking to become parents. In addition to legalizing gay marriage, the new law allows same-sex couples to jointly adopt children. This means that gay couples looking to become parents through international surrogacy can legally use second-parent adoption to gain full parenting rights over the child. (Commercial surrogacy is illegal in New Zealand, while altruistic surrogacy is legal.)
Couples from other countries can marry in New Zealand, as well. This is good news for Australia where an attempt to legalize same-sex marriage failed last August.
New Zealand’s new law takes effect in late August. The nation will then join Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Uruguay (France’s bill heads to the Lower House this week).