New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage

Photo Credit: CNN International News

Photo Credit: CNN International News

Today (April 17, 2013), New Zealand became the 13th country to legalize same-sex marriage. The vote in parliament was 77 to 44 to amend the Marriage Act that was put in place in 1955. The next step in the process is for the governor-general to give royal consent to the amendment, but according to CNN News this is generally a given. This makes New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize gay marriage. In 2005, New Zealand passed a law that allowed civil unions but it wasn’t until now that same-sex couples could be joined in actual marriage. The law will not come into effect until about four months, but both gay and straight citizens have started to celebrate today in New Zealand.

It is heartening for the citizens of New Zealand to see their country take such a big step forward. The MP (member of parliament) of the Labor Party who sponsored this bill, Louisa Wall, is openly gay. She said that she was “very proud to be a member of a Parliament that has voted overwhelmingly to give New Zealanders, regardless of their sex,  sexual orientation or gender, the right to marry.” The people who were lucky enough to be observing the vote in the public gallery burst out singing the New Zealand national anthem (in the Maori language) as soon as the bill was passed.

Those who were opposed to the legislation were the Roman Catholic Church and other social, religious and political groups who believe that the bill would go against the idea of family. The bill states that any member of the clergy may refuse to officiate a same-sex marriage if it goes against their beliefs.

Australia had similar legislation up for discussion last year but they chose not to pass it. Groups that support same-sex marriage in Australia see the passing of the bill in New Zealand as an embarrassment because their country could have done the same thing, but didn’t.

Was it right for New Zealand to pass this bill? Could this happen in the United States? There are now 13 countries that have passed legislation that allow same-sex marriage. Do you think this number will start to grow quickly as other countries pass similar legislation or do you think the number will stay this low?





–Katie Mixer


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9 responses to “New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage”

  1. mollyfenimore says :

    I believe that this is a great thing for not only New Zealand, but also the rest of the world. From your post, it is obvious that Australia is facing similar issues with passing the law as the U.S. has in trying to legalize same-sex marriage. I do, however, believe that this passing of the law could spark something throughout the rest of the world. Perhaps, years down the road, other countries will see the positive benefits of same-sex marriage and begin to implement the laws within their own countries. I definitely believe that more and more countries will begin passing legislation to approve gay marriage after observing how the transition plays out within other nations.

  2. avc5258 says :

    I think it was right of New Zealand to pass this bill. I think that our world today is a lot different than our world many years ago. Legalizing gay marriage is something that people are not begging for. I do not think that is far. If someone has a same sex relationship, they should be able to live a happy and married life with their partner. It was interesting to hear that New Zealand is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize gay marriage. It is great that both gay and straight citizens have started to celebrate in New Zealand. I’m not sure if something like this could happen in the United States. It is already passed in certain states, but not as a country wide thing. I think Obama is trying to make it legal, but it will have to be looked over and passed by many people in the government and I’m not sure how soon this will actually happen. I feel like there are so many people against it. It just isn’t fair. If people want to live a certain way, they shouldn’t be punished by not being able to get married to the person that they love. I think that this number will start to grow quickly as people see what has been passed in New Zealand and the other countries. Some countries I think will never pass a law like this just because of religion and super strict governments. I think it will grow as much as it can and allow same sex couples to get married everywhere.

    -Alexandra Criscitello

  3. Katie Rudan says :

    I think this is exciting for not only New Zealand, but for the world. Being the 13th country in the entire world to take this step forward is huge. It is hopefully something that the rest of the world pays attention to. It makes New Zealand a leader in the world promoting the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. I understand same-sex marriage is still not going to be widely accepted for many years to come, but this is sign that change is happening. I think it is something that will have a domino effect around the globe. Being a Roman Catholic, I understand there will always be opposition from religious and conservative groups. But I really do believe my generation and generations that will come after me have more accepting attitudes than in the past. I already see a difference in attitudes between my grandmother, my parents and myself. I think it is only a matter of time before the United States legalizes same-sex marriage. I really do believe it will happen in my lifetime. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of collectivist cultures in the world that will not even consider it. I really think it just depends on the country. But, I do believe more and more will begin to legalize it. Slowly, but surely.

  4. comm410backrow says :

    This is such a milestone for New Zealand, finally a region actually makes the necessary steps for a better world. It is pretty sad that the United States has not yet been courageous enough to pass a law like this, however I do think that it will happen soon, well at least I hope. To your second question, usually it takes just one and others will soon follow. I am also Catholic, but I personally feel like we as a society should not be able to tell people who they can and cannot fall in love with. Nowadays people do not hide it either. If they are gay or lesbian they are not afraid to let people know. I think that it is something that our generation is use to by now so for our government not to pass it is just trying to avoid the inevitable at this point. This is an amazing time in history not only for their region but all of the citizens in it. Congratulations to the people New Zealand, this is a historical moment for them!

    -Kellie Yekel

  5. Gabrielle Parker says :

    I think this is so awesome! It’s definitely right that New Zealand passed the bill and it is always astounding to hear when a whole country decides to legalize gay marriage because it breaks through previous age-old assumptions and stereotypes. It is probably so important to these people that it is legalized after so long. I hope the United States will one day legalize gay marriage because it just needs to happen. Obviously it is harder because we have one of the most diverse countries and it is so big with different states but to see that it has already happened in 13 countries gives me hope. Why should a group of old White guys in DC have a say in who someone can or can not married – at that why should they be able to tell a woman what she can do with her body. There are a lot of problems in our government and this is definitely one of them. I know only a couple of states have legalized it, I just wonder how long it will take for the whole United States to legalize. I do think this number will start to grow quickly as other countries pass similar legislation because the United States is constantly keeping up and trying, keyword, to stay on top. Another reason I hope this can happen is because same-sex relationships in the military should be able to receive the same benefits as any other couple in the military and this is a really big problem that not many people know about. A lot of things still need to be done to ensure a more equal future and I really hope that we are on our way to making a historical difference rather than an apathetic stroll into the future. We need to be proactive in making a difference so these people have as many equal rights as the rest of us do! Congrats to the people of New Zealand because this is such an awesome, historical feat!

  6. xxl5093 says :

    Their legalization avoids discrimination of every citizen, including homosexuals. New Zealand has a high percentage of homosexuals, and there are many public gay bars, hotels, and clubs in Auckland. People in New Zealand have the attitude of unbiased and acceptable to gay, but there are still organizations and individuals are against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Even some conservatives indicate that they can support their relationship but not traditional marriage law.
    In my perspective, their legalization of same-sex marriage can promote the tourist trade in New Zealand, and there are several reasons.
    First of all, they pass the law of same-sex marriage, so it means there will be more wedding planning companies especially for homosexual there. Compared with most regions in the other part of the world, New Zealand will have a more complete infrastructure for same-sex marriage. Thus, more gays and lesbians will choose to go to New Zealand to celebrate their wedding.
    Moreover, gays and lesbians will consider New Zealand as a honeymoon destination because they are not discriminated by others there. Otherwise, they can face to the public there without worry about their identity. Thus, they can be really relax, and this is they cannot do at other places even includes their own countries.
    Moreover, I saw some news said that homosexuals from Australia would go to New Zealand to get married. After estimating, Australians had spent 700 million on wedding planning. The country of Australia did not get the benefit from this spending, but New Zealand got money. Obviously, if the government of Australia does not change their attitude of same-sex marriage, there will be more and more homosexuals go to New Zealand to get married. The benefits will be a larger number.

  7. Marissa-Paige Smith says :

    I think it’s great that New Zealand passed this bill. It’s important not only for their own country, but also the rest of the world–as you pointed out, it’s already effecting Australians. I think this can happen in the United States, but I think it’s going to be at least a few more years before we see it. There’s too many people in politics in the US trying to appease both sides to make any changes in the near future. I think the number of countries passing legislation is going to keep growing–and probably quickly. Just yesterday France joined the ranks of legalizing gay marriage and adoption by gay couples (, making them the 14th country to have passed legislation that allow same-sex marriage. I think these 14 countries are leaders in a movement that will eventually become global, and it would behoove the United States to jump into the leagues of these countries sooner rather than later.

  8. Yooji Yang says :

    I think this is very interesting topic to discuss and also, this seems a huge step that New Zealand made. As we can see and realize, the number of gays and gay couples are increasing in as fast- speed. In my opinion, it was right for New Zealand to pass this bill. Although there are some amounts of people who are still opposing of this bill, I think it is their own life and it is their own choice to have marriage or not. Since they are same human being as we are they should be treated equally as we are. We all have choice to have marriage or not. By passing this bill, they can also have their own choices to have marriage or not. In the United States there are not small number of gay people. Considering this, I think there are still some possibilities that the United States can legalize the gay marriage. However, since there are huge difference compare to the population, I think there might be more opposing people than New Zealand.
    Watching that there are already 13 countries that have passed the legislation of allowing gay-marriage, I think, the number will start increasing as the time pass. Compare to the past, there are increasing number of people who are accepting gays. When we consider this effect, I think there are many countries will start follow this trend of legalizing gay-marriage.
    By reading this article, I think New Zealand made a huge and important decision by legalizing gay-marriage. By passing this bill, New Zealand shows the openness of gays and this can decrease the discrimination of gays. By passing this bill New Zealand has to face many obstacles; however, their big step can give huge hope to gay people.

  9. Jess Berko says :

    I think it’s fantastic that New Zealand made a national amendment legalizing same-sex marriage. Just as the Australians are about their country, I’m embarrassed that the United States has not been able to do what New Zealand has done. How could a country whose citizens fought so hard for “civil rights” throughout the past century still deny gay citizens their right to marry. This country prides itself on freedom, but yet we have laws that forbid gay Americans from being happy. I just don’t understand how people go out of their ways to make sure that people don’t have that right. It has absolutely nothing to do with them and I find it outrageous that they fight so hard to deprive gays of their rights. I’m glad that certain states have begun to legalize it, but this needs to be a federal change. Every American should have the right to marry whoever the hell they want. To the opposition: what gives you the right to determine that their way of life is wrong. Nothing bothers me more than people who are so buried in their religion that they feel the need to force their beliefs on other people. I’m so happy that New Zealand passed this law and I’m so ashamed to live in a country that can’t do the same.

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