WELLINGTON, N.Z. — New Zealand will become the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage as a bill to amend the current marriage law was approved moments ago by the country’s Parliament in its third and final reading on Wednesday.
With the bill’s passage, same-sex and transgender couples will be able to marry beginning in mid-August, and same-sex couples who married overseas will also be able to have their marriage officially recognized in New Zealand.
People watching from the public gallery immediately broke into song after the result was announced, singing a New Zealand anthem in the indigenous Maori language.
“It is truly a historic moment in New Zealand‘s social and political history. To be part of it is a fantastic opportunity.”
He added: “In a few years’ time, people will look back on this and wonder what the fuss was about.
“People will not marry their pets. Ministers will not be thrown into prison. People will not be prevented from using the words husband and wife or bride and bridegroom. Teachers won’t have any restrictions on what they can teach. And opposition which is based on these fears will melt away.”
The bill will also have significant impact on the transgender community. Currently, married transsexual people are forced to divorce when they change their gender, but they will no longer be required to do so.