New Zealand Set to Legalise Gay Marriage

New Zealand Set to Legalise Gay Marriage

New Zealand is poised to legalise same-sex marriage in a parliamentary vote that gay rights advocates Tuesday said will represent a milestone in the struggle for equality.

A bill that amends the 1955 Marriage Act to describe marriage as “a union of two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity” will have its third and final reading in parliament on Wednesday.

The proposal is set to pass comfortably after receiving widespread support during two previous debates — including backing from Prime Minister John Key — with the most recent vote last month running at 77 votes for and 43 against.

LegaliseLove Wellington co-ordinator Joseph Habgood said gay venues in the capital’s nightclub strip planned to screen the vote live and host parties marking the occasion.

The lawmaker behind the reform is Louisa Wall, an openly gay member of the centre-left Labour Party who argues the institution of marriage needs to be updated to be more inclusive.

However, there has been opposition to the move, including from the conservative Family First group, which accuses politicians of undermining traditional male-female marriage under pressure from the gay lobby.