NEW ZEALAND HAS voted to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.
Parliament voted by 77 votes to 44 in favour of the new legislation, making New Zealand the thirteenth country in the world to vote in favour of marriage for same-sex couples.
Spokesperson for the Green Party – the third biggest party in the New Zealand parliament – Kevin Hague MP said the passing of marriage equality brought “a huge benefit to many people, and no harm to anyone at all.”
“When I first got together with my partner, 29 years ago, the message sent by the law could not have been clearer: we were outsiders and did not belong,” he said.
Today Parliament has sent a message to the rainbow community that we do belong without having to compromise who we are.
The stories we have heard from young gay and lesbian people just wanting to feel accepted by our society provide the overwhelming reason why this is the right move.
The move comes three days after Ireland’s Constitutional Convention voted to recommend a referendum to provide for same-sex marriage in Ireland.
Twelve countries around the world, including Spain, Canada, Iceland and Argentina, have already legislated to allow for same-sex marriage, while a number of other countries – including Ireland – recognise civil partnerships.
– Additional reporting by AFP