Law change fulfils lifelong dream for Tauranga man

By Genevieve Helliwell


The passing of the controversial Marriage Amendment Bill - by 77 votes to 44- means people like Tauranga's Te Mete Smith can fulfil a life-long dream of getting married in New Zealand.

In Parliament last night the sponsor of a bill to make gay marriage legal, Labour MP Louisa Wall, who is gay, thanked her "darling" civil union partner Prue Kapua for "sharing this journey with me".

"I thank my colleagues for simply doing what is just, fair and right," she said.

For Mr Smith, the change means he will not have to travel overseas to marry his long-term partner Joseph Hayes.

"Marriage is something that I thought about but it was never an option.

"And a civil union will not cut it. But now there's another option that makes us equal and it's something to celebrate." Mr Smith said he knew he was gay at a young age but "came out" to his parents seven years ago when he was 21.

"I kept it from my family because they weren't accepting of it.

"They are now ... but originally when I came out my parents and I didn't speak for three years."

"They are a Christian family and had very idealistic hopes and dreams of what they wanted for me and I guess that didn't happen, in their eyes."

As a child Mr Smith was teased, bullied and beaten up because he was different.

He felt like a "second class citizen" and was treated like one.

After years being shunned by society, Mr Smith said times were beginning to change and gay couples were slowly being accepted in society.

"What I hope for, regardless of a person's sexuality, gender or identity, is for all people to have the same rights as everyone else."

Reverend John Hebenton from St George's Anglican Church in Gate Pa said he hoped and expected the Bill to pass.

"I think it will be a good thing," he said.

"People might get upset that we shouldn't redefine marriage but we redefine it all the time. Marriage, in its original context, was about property where the woman was the property of the father then her new husband's. It was about ownership and we don't accept that anymore ... and this is just a new redefinition of marriage."

Mr Hebenton said his opinion was not shared by everyone in the church but there were "quite a few" who did and together they put in a submission in support of the law change.

Despite last night's Bill passing, many churches will not be able to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies as most churches were governed by church law, Mr Hebenton said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who spoke against the change in Parliament last night, said: "What we've had is a small, yet vocal, minority telling the rest of New Zealanders that there is a law change that everyone wants."



The Marriage Amendment Bill, which allows same-sex and transgender couples to marry, was passed last night in Parliament, 77 votes to 44.

Here's how the MPs voted:



Amy Adams, Selwyn

Chris Auchinvole, List

Maggie Barry, North Shore

Paula Bennett, Waitakere 

David Bennett, Hamilton East

Jackie Blue, List

Cam Calder, List 

David Carter, List 

Judith Collins, Papakura 

Jacqui Dean, Waitaki 

Craig Foss, Tukituki 

Aaron Gilmore, List 

Paul Goldsmith, List 

Jo Goodhew, Rangitata 

Tim Groser, List 

Tau Henare, List 

Paul Hutchison, Hunua 

Nikki Kaye, Auckland Central 

Steven Joyce, List 

John Key, Helensville 

Hekia Parata, List 

Jami-Lee Ross, Botany 

Scott Simpson, Coromandel 

Chris Tremain, Napier

Nicky Wagner, Christchurch Central 

Kate Wilkinson, Waimakariri

Maurice Williamson, Pakuranga


Jacinda Ardern, List

Carol Beaumont, List 

David Clark, Dunedin North 

Clayton Cosgrove, List 

David Cunliffe, New Lynn 

Clare Curran, Dunedin South 

Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch East 

Ruth Dyson, Port Hills

Kris Faafoi., Mana

Darien Fenton, List 

Phil Goff, Mt Roskill 

Chris Hipkins, Rimutaka

Parekura Horomia, Ikaroa-Rawhiti 

Raymond Huo, List 

Shane Jones, List 

Annette King, Rongotai 

Iain Lees-Galloway, Palmerston North 

Andrew Little, List 

Moana Mackey, List 

Nanaia Mahuta, Hauraki-Waikato 

Trevor Mallard, Hutt South 

Sue Moroney, List 

David Parker, List 

Rajen Prasad, List 

Grant Robertson, Wellington Central 

David Shearer, Mt Albert 

Maryan Street, List

Phil Twyford, Te Atatu 

Louisa Wall, Manurewa 

Megan Woods, Wigram



Steffan Browning, List 

David Clendon, List

Catherine Delahunty, List 

Julie-Anne Genter, List

Kennedy Graham, List

Kevin Hague, List

Gareth Hughes, List

Jan Logie, List

Mojo Mathers, List 

Russel Norman, List

Denise Roche, List

Metiria Turei, List

Eugenie Sage, List

Holly Walker, List

Maori Party: 

Te Ururoa Flavell, Waiariki

Tariana Turia, Te Tai Hauauru 

Pita Sharples, Tamaki Makaurau

United Future: 

Peter Dunne, Ohariu


John Banks, Epsom


Hone Harawira, Te Tai Tokerau



Shane Ardern, Taranaki-King Country

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, List

Chester Borrows, Whanganui

Simon Bridges, Tauranga

Gerry Brownlee, Ilam

Jonathan Coleman, Northcote 

Bill English, Cluth-Southland

Chris Finlayson, List

Nathan Guy, Otaki

John Hayes, Wairarapa

Phil Heatley, Whangarei

Colin King, Kaikoura

Melissa Lee, List

Sam Lotu-Iiga, Maungakiekie

Tim Macindoe, Hamilton West

Todd McClay, Rotorua

Murray McCully, East Coast Bays

Ian McKelvie, Rangitikei

Mark Mitchell, Rodney

Alfred Ngaro, List

Simon O'Connor, Tamaki

Eric Roy, Invercargill

Tony Ryall, Bay of Plenty

Mike Sabin, Northland

Katrina Shanks, List

Nick Smith, Nelson

Lindsay Tisch, Waikato

Anne Tolley, East Coast

Louise Upston, Taupo

Michael Woodhouse, List

Jian Yang, List

Jonathan Young, New Plymouth


Damien O'Connor, West Coast - Tasman

Ross Robertson, Manukau East

Su'a William Sio, Mangere

Rino Tirikatene, Te Tai Tonga

NZ First: 

Asenati Lole-Taylor, List

Tracey Martin, List

Winston Peters, List

Richard Prosser, List

Barbara Stewart, List

Andrew Williams, List

Denis O'Rourke, List


Brendan Horan, List

Marriage Amendment Bill:

* Takes effect mid-August

* Allows same-sex and transgender couples to marry

* Allows both people in a gay relationship to be recognised as a parent of an adopted child

* Allows religious ministers to choose who they marry and criticise gay marriage from the pulpit without breaching human rights

* People getting married will be able to choose whether they are called a bride, bridegroom, or partner.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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