Kiwis back gay marriage - poll

Last updated 08:47 07/06/2012
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Nearly two-thirds of New Zealanders back a legal change to allow gay marriage, a new poll suggests.

The 63 per cent behind same-sex marriage in a TVNZ poll released last night has fuelled calls for Parliament to introduce legislation for the change.

Green Party MP Kevin Hague said he planned to introduce a bill at the next member's ballot, but would be happy for the Government to adopt his measure.

"It is time for New Zealand to amend our laws to reflect the change in society's views on same-sex marriage," Hague said.

"Twice as many New Zealanders now support same sex marriage as oppose it."

The former Labour-led Government passed a law allowing civil unions between same-sex couples in 2004 but gay marriage has since largely fallen off the political agenda in New Zealand.

US President Barack Obama prompted renewed discussion last month when he gave his personal support for the measure.

Prime Minister John Key said he would be "more than happy" to vote for the first reading of a bill allowing gay marriage but it was not a priority.

But Hague said last night's TVNZ poll revealed "overwhelming support for marriage equality".

"This is an issue which New Zealanders clearly feel strongly about. John Key can make marriage equality a priority and introduce this legislation," Hague said.

Member's bills are considered by Parliament on one day every second sitting week, but the bills debated need to first be drawn from a ballot of dozens of other bills.

Labour MP Louisa Wall has said she too was working on a private members' bill which would define marriage and enable same sex couples to wed.

But Hague said only the Green Party had its entire caucus behind a change.

The TVNZ poll of 1000 voters found 31 per cent opposed to gay marriage and 6 per cent did not know or preferred not to say.

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