On Wednesday night, Parliament passed the second reading of the same-sex marriage bill. It still has to pass the third reading, which should be some time soon. However, usually the second reading is the most important so probably this bill will be passed. It will change the definition of marriage. It will mean that marriage is a union of two people regardless of their sex. It will give equality for all people to marry.
In 2005, Civil Union became legal for same-sex couples. This is similar to marriage. Last year, 232 same-sex couples joined in a civil union.
Same-sex marriage is legal in many European and South American countries. In USA, President Obama gave his support for same-sex marriage. In New Zealand, our human rights law does not allow discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity, age, sex or sexual orientation. This is one argument for allowing same-sex marriage.
Young members of every political party in New Zealand support same-sex marriage. This is another reason MPs have voted in favour of making same-sex marriage legal.
• bill – a planned law, before it becomes law
• reading of a bill – MPs vote after the bill is read
• definition – the meaning
• civil – for citizens of a society
• union – joining two people
• regardless of their sex – in spite of their sex, it doesn’t matter what sex they are
• discrimination – unfair treatment of someone because of their sex, religion etc.
• ethnicity e.g. European, Maori, Chinese
• sexual orientation – e.g. gay or straight (not gay)