Marriage bill to go to select commitee

Dom Post 30 Aug 2012
MPs voted for gay marriage in a near-landslide last night, with a conscience vote on Labour MP Louisa Wall’s bill passing before a packed public gallery at Parliament. The bill will now be considered by a select committee before facing two further votes before it can pass in to law. ‘‘Today is the time to open the institution of marriage to all people who are eligible,’’ Ms Wall told Parliament last night. ‘‘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 controversially 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. Many believed that some other legislation should be used to strengthen same sex rights rather than changing marriage laws, he said. ‘‘By passing this legislation we not only change the definition of marriage, we change it’s meaning and the fundamental basis of marriage. This change will have enduring ramifications for future generations.’’ Dozens of MPs sought a call to speak on the bill, with MPs freed from the usual strictures of voting on party lines. The bill had been favoured to pass since it was plucked from the member’s ballot earlier this month, but few expected the margin to be so convincing. Numbers in support were bolstered by some National MPs offering support at the first reading but making no promises beyond that. ‘‘I think it’s a legitimate public debate and I think it would be good to have both sides of the case thoroughly heard in public,’’ Cabinet Minister Jonathan Coleman said. ‘‘There are some issues, especially around adoption, where it’s really healthy to talk those things through because I don’t think there has been a lot of information in the public domain.’’


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