How do you feel about changing the law to allow gay marriage?
Three of the five MPs who represent the wider Manawatu in Parliament have voted in favour of gay marriage.
Parliament voted last night by 80 to 40 to support the first reading of a private member’s bill to legalise marriage between same sex couples.
Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway, Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie and Te Hai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia voted for the bill.
Otaki MP Nathan Guy and Wairarapa MP John Hayes voted against it.
Mr Hayes was the only MP out of the five to speak during the hour-long debate.
Mr Hayes, whose electorate includes the Tararua district, said his opposition was a reflection of the views of his constituents.
‘‘Those who oppose the bill have different political views and religious beliefs.’’
His constituents had told him marriage was not defined by love but by a man and a woman entering a partnership for procreation.
‘‘For those people it is not possible for marriage to be redefined.’’
The bill was put forward by Labour MP Louisa Wall. It will now be considered by a select committee before facing two further votes before it can pass into law.
‘‘Today is the time to open the institution of marriage to all people who are eligible,’’ Ms Wall told Parliament.
‘‘There is no reasonable ground on which the state should deny any citizen the right to enter the institution of marriage if he or she chooses. That is not the process of inclusion.’’
Labour MP Su’a William Sio, who broke ranks with most of his caucus colleagues and warned the measure could spark a backlash against his party, spoke against the bill.
‘‘It is a difficult issue and the views are very divided,’’ Mr Sio said.
‘‘By passing this legislation, we not only change the definition of marriage, we change its meaning and the fundamental basis of marriage. This change will have enduring ramifications for future generations.’’
National’s Nikki Kaye said the bill would give ‘‘dignity and acceptance’’ to a group in society that had recently been criminalised for the people they loved.
Green MP Kevin Hague said that as a homosexual man he and his partner had once faced being fired from their jobs, arrested and imprisoned because of who they were.
To allow them and other same sex couples to marry would ‘‘right an injustice and harm absolutely no-one’’.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said the bill should be the subject of a referendum before it could become law.
It was an issue of public morality, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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