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Popular Topics in The Arts
Nyad, Diana Nyad, Diana
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Topics In the News
 
New Zealand Prime Minister Endorses Marriage Equality
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 07/30/12
Last updated on: 07/30/12
 
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In an interview with RadioLive NZ, Prime Minister John Key said that he will vote in favor of a private members bill allowing same-sex couples to wed. He said that he will allow a conscience vote on the measure, which would permit members of his center-right government to make independent decisions as to how they vote on the bill.

According to the Australian website newscom.au, the Prime Minister said, "My view has been that if two gay people want to get married then I can't see why it would undermine my marriage."

He acknowledged, however, that "There will be plenty of people in our caucus who will be deeply opposed--particularly the very religious ones, and I can understand that."

New Zealand currently offers offers same-sex couples civil unions that provide the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage. Key, who voted against the civil unions bill in 2004, said in 2008 that he saw no need to go beyond civil unions.

However, in response to the announcment of President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage, and perhaps more importantly to polls that indicate that more than 60% of New Zealanders support same-sex marriage, Key announced on May 11, 2012, that he "was not opposed to same-sex marriage."

The bill that will be debated in New Zealand's Parliament was introduced by Labour MP Louisa Wall. It is believed that all 14 Green MPs and most of the 34 Labour MPs will vote in favor of marriage equality. The 3 Maori Party MPs are also expected to support marriage equality. Key's National Party has 59 seats in the 121-member assembly, with the remainder divided between 5 minor parties. It is expected that on a conscience vote some National Party MPs will follow the Prime Minister's lead. The question is whether that will be sufficient to reach the 61 votes needed for passage.

The video below, from Wellington's One News TV, reports on the marriage equality bill. The report was made on July 26, 2012, before Prime Minister Key's announcement of his support.

 
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