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New Zealand becomes 13th country to legalize same-sex marriage

Parliament approves bill 77-44 in third and final reading
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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.

The measure, approved by a vote of 77-44, marks the most significant change to the country’s gay and transgender rights since New Zealand decriminalized homosexuality 27 years ago.

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.

Prior to the vote, Green MP Kevin Hague told The New Zealand Herald it was the most important occasion in his time in Parliament.

“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.”

New Zealand becomes the first Asia-Pacific country to legalize marriage equality for same-sex couples.

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.

Last week, lawmakers in Uruguay also voted to legalize same-sex marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so, and the 12th country in the world.

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Filed under: Oceania

37 more reader comments:

  1. I was just watching the live stream of the vote.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:43am
  2. Wat abt India…Mumbai?????????????

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:45am
  3. How Wonderful Congratulations ! It’s About Time !

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:49am
  4. Congrats to NZ :)

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:52am
  5. Makes my day. New Zealand takes the B-I-G STEP! GO For it.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:54am
  6. WOW! Philippines is next! *crossfinger*

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:55am
  7. that is awesome congratulations to al lgbt people in new zealand finally equality

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:56am
  8. this is amazing news!!! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:58am
  9. Very pleased to be a New Zealander congratulations.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:01am
  10. very inspiring.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:05am
  11. Cool! Now Xena & Gabrielle can legally marry! Way to go Kiwis!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:16am
  12. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH From Scotland :)

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:16am
  13. Yeah New Zealand! I’m so proud to live here and be a kiwi more than I was before <3

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:17am
  14. Yay New Zealand!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:20am
  15. OMG YAY!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:23am
  16. Awesome:)

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:34am
  17. Does this mean I can go home to New Zealand and marry mygirlfriend then come back to Australia and not be married!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:36am
  18. Congradulations to the New Zeland Government. Congradualtions to all those who ought for this right. Now if the USA would just wake up!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:46am
  19. Thank You New Zealand For Make Us Proud You Guys Are Rock Here In The States We Still Struggling With This Issue And You As A Country Just Put All The Difference A Side And Change The Law For The Benefit Of All Your Citizens, Thank You Once Again We Should Follow Your Lead!!! Yeahhhhh Marriage Equality Once And For All!!! Lol :) God Bless You All!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:57am
  20. GO KIWIS! Congratulations, another country enters the Rainbow Kingdom!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:17am
  21. And the United States…………..??????? Unbelievable!!!! :(

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:30am
  22. Yay New Zealand!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:47am
  23. Great but how humiliating for the united states to be so late in the game here.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:49am
  24. Fabulous !

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:01am
  25. Are we behind or what?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:01am
  26. YAY KIWIS!! ^_^

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:24am
  27. Why is the US so behind the times?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:54am
  28. (y)

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:31am
  29. Looks like maybe we will move to New Zealand

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:32am
  30. USA is still remains the backward freaking Country! grrrr!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:35am
  31. lmao thats awsome!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:59am
  32. Very Good!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:32am
  33. When America, the land of equal opportunity, finally take note of the rest of the world is doing when it comes to marriage equality?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:37am
  34. we are behind on the times here because this country unfortunately is overrun with warped minded bible chewers. but slow progress is better than no progress at all

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:27am
  35. YAY!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:37am
  36. It’s fucking rediculous. The U.S. is supposed to be the land of the free, therefore we should have been the first country to have granted this “freedom” to it’s LGBT citizens

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:03am
  37. When it will be in Pakistan?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 12:26pm