NZ PM set to back marriage equality bill
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key will back a marriage equality bill when it is debated in the country’s Parliament in coming weeks, saying same-sex couples marrying would not impact upon the quality of his own marriage.
It is expected Parliament will vote on same-sex marriage sometime this year, after Labour MP Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill was chosen late last week from a parliamentary ballot.
In a radio interview on Monday morning, Key (pictured) said he would use a conscience vote which will be afforded to all National Party MPs to vote in favour of the bill which would allow gay and transgender couples to marry.
“You go through all the merits of the argument and look at what people put up; but my view is that if two gay people want to get married I can’t see why it would undermine my marriage with [wife] Bronagh,” he told Radio Live.
“There will be plenty of people in our caucus who will be deeply opposed – particularly the very religious ones, and I can understand that.”
Key’s support for marriage equality came as some religious and conservative groups joined forces over the weekend to lobby against the proposed reform.
The Protectmarriage.org.nz site created jointly by Family First, the National Marriage Coalition, Family Life and Focus on the Family calls on visitors to sign a petition if they “support the definition of marriage being maintained as one man one woman”, while the Catholic Diocese of Auckland has also announced its opposition to the bill.
Key said the discussion around the issue was a sign of a robust democracy.
“I think it’s quite healthy that New Zealand has the debate, I suspect it won’t be what it was when you looked at homosexual law reform in the ‘70s – I don’t think it will be that dramatic,” Key added.