FIJI NEWS
April 17, 2013 11:05:32 PM
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A bill seeking to allow same sex marriage was passed in the New Zealand Parliament tonight to cheers from the public gallery and the majority of the Members of Parliament.

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its third reading by 77 to 44 on a conscience vote.

This bill seeks to amend NZ’s Marriage Act 1955 to ensure that its provisions are not applied in a discriminatory manner. The bill aims to ensure that all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity will have the opportunity to marry if they so choose.

The bill which is expected to be effective from August completed its second reading by 77 to 44 and its first reading by 80 to 40.

Addressing the House tonight, the bill’s sponsor Louisa Wall said the bill would benefit those "dealt with unjustly under the law and steps are being taken to right the wrong they have suffered."

NZ First leader Winston Peters gave the first speech of the evening opposing gay marriage calling for a referendum to decide on the matter.

This was however shot down by MPs.

ACT MP John Banks voted against decriminalising male homosexuality in 1986, but voted for the marriage bill tonight.

National MP Chester Burrows said he supported gay marriage as two people who loved each other should be allowed to do so under the law.

According to stuff.co.nz website, Wellington’s gay community was out on the town and ready to celebrate as the debate on gay marriage got underway.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain today reiterated marriage certificates would continue to give people the option of calling themselves bride and bride groom.

A draft of the proposed new marriage forms would also allow people to tick a third option, partner.

Meanwhile, in Fiji the draft constitution does not allow same sex marriage.

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