Changing the definition of marriage should not be Parliament's role, says Rangitikei's MP, who switched to voting against same-sex marriage last night.
Ian McKelvie had voted for Louisa Wall's private member's bill at the first reading but voted no after yesterday's second reading.
He was one of four MPs to switch camps.
The bill passed 77 votes to 44, all but ensuring it will pass into law in several weeks' time - giving same-sex couples the right to marry.
The vote last night was dealing "with a pretty significant social issue" and his decision was not something he came to easily.
Mr McKelvie said that if there was any inequality that existed in law from not allowing same-sex couples to marry then this should be addressed through widening the rights given to civil-union couples.
"If there's any inequality caused by that, I'd attach it to the civil-union side of things. That's what I would be favouring."
He was also in favour of a referendum on same-sex marriage.
Mr McKelvie said he had taken a lot of time considering his position and he did not want to offend anybody through his vote last night.
"It was quite a difficult decision to make because I'm not a person who does not like people."
He said he had received far more correspondence on marriage equality than any other issue in the time he had been in Parliament.
"There's been a lot more opposition to this bill [in Rangitikei] than I expected." He was concerned debate around the bill had been divisive.
"I don't think that this bill achieves anything other than aggravation," he said.
Before the first reading, which passed 80 to 40, Mr McKelvie did not promise to support the bill beyond the first hurdle.
MPs from around the wider Manawatu who also voted against the bill were Otaki MP Nathan Guy and John Hayes from Wairarapa.
Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia voted in favour.
It will be several weeks before the third and final reading takes place.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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