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AUKLAND, New Zealand -- A same-sex marriage bill was picked today to be debated and voted on by the parliament in New Zealand.
The Definition of Marriage Amendment Bill was sponsored by lesbian Labour MP Louisa Wall and it states that marriage should be defined as the union of two people regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill was one of five drawn from a pool of 62 bills in the Members’ Bill Ballot.
‘I think it’s got a good chance of going through,’ Labour leader of the opposition David Shearer said today, confirming that he will support the bill. ‘I think it's the reality of our times.’
Prime Minister John Key has previously said he is ‘personally not opposed’ to same-sex marriage and ‘might vote for it’.
New Zealand’s Green Party, with 14 MPs, fully supports gay marriage and MPs in all parties will be allowed a free conscience vote on the issue. If they vote according to the electorate’s wishes - a poll in June showed that 63% support same-sex marriage - the bill is likely to go through.
Civil unions have been legal for same-sex couples since 2005 in New Zealand, but the campaign for gay marriage shows that they are not considered adequate, even though they give people the same legal rights as married couples.
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