New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage

It’s official. New Zealand is the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and the first in the Asia-Pacific region. Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final reading. When the result was announced, people watching from the public gallery and some lawmakers immediately broke into song, singing a New Zealand anthem, “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language.

Since 2005, New Zealand has allowed civil unions, which gave many legal rights to gay couples. The new law will allow them to jointly adopt children for the first time and also allow their marriages to be recognized in other countries. The law will take effect in late August.

With New Zealand now allowing gay marriage, it puts pressure on nearby countries to follow suit. In Australia, there has been little political momentum at the federal level. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage. Since New Zealand is only a three hour plane ride away, many Aussie couples tired of waiting for the government to act, will most likely travel there. This will definitely spark a tourism boom.

Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign.

Congrats to all our Kiwi readers. I traveled to Auckland last year and really enjoyed it. My only regret was not traveling to the beautiful countryside. If you haven’t been to New Zealand, I highly recommend it.

  • czahn

    Ive never been prouder of our people.

  • Brett

    Nice article. Like, czahn, I have never been prouder of our little nation. Just one small correction, the song is Pokarekare Ana, a traditional love song (although I suspect it is better known than the national anthem).

  • beachballsify2

    good on New Zealand, its time for Australia to follow suit with equality for ALL PEOPLE now – seriously I’m so mad that nobody in parliament is for marriage for gay people, Sydney is probably the gayest place on Earth – just look at the 2000 Olympics, its about time that absolutely everybody have the same treatment around here now

  • Since gay unions are now legal in New Zealand, expected increase in tourist arrival will surge in a few months. This just means that there is freedom in the country when it comes to gay couples wanting to be just themselves without getting discriminated.