NZ Lawmakers Burst Into Song as They Legalize Gay Marriage

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 17 2013 11:53 AM

New Zealand Lawmakers Burst Into Song as They Legalize Gay Marriage

166798556
Labour MP Louisa Wall (centre) is applauded by fellow Labour MPs after the third reading and vote on the Marriage Equality Bill at Parliament House on April 17, 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand

Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand became the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage today after their parliament easily approved an amendment to their 1955 marriage laws. The country is the first in the Asia-Pacific region to allow gays and lesbians to walk down the aisle.

The new law will take effect this August, but same-sex marriage supporters—including those in Parliament—wasted little time beginning the celebration once it became clear that the bill was going to pass. MPs and observers broke into applause and cheers, and then someone started singing, "Pokarekare Ana," a very popular Maori love song. Most of the others in the room joined in. Watch for yourself (the singing starts at about the 1:15 mark):

Advertisement

The bill, which defines marriage as a union between two people, was sponsored by Louisa Wall of the country's Labour party. In her speech—one of many to draw a standing ovation—Wall, who is gay, said that "nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill." The measure had the support of multiple political parties in the country, including Prime Minister John Key, who is center-right, as the New York Times explains. 

According to a report from Fairfax NZ News, the few opponents of the bill who were in the room left quietly soon after the measure passed. Here's what one MP told opponents regarding the measure:

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson promised the sky would not cave in today. ‘‘I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill right now... the sun will still rise tomorrow, your teenage daughter will still argue back with you as if she knows everything, your mortgage will not grow, you will not have skin disease or rashes or toads in your bed. So don’t make this into a big deal, this is fantastic for the people if affects but for most of us life will go on.’’

As Reuters notes, the law won't force clergy who are opposed to same sex marriage to oversee gay weddings, a fear raised by opponents of the bill. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?