Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Same-sex marriage law passed

Louisa Wall is congratulated by Labour leader Davis Shearer and MP Jacinda Ardern after the Marriage Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Louisa Wall is congratulated by Labour leader Davis Shearer and MP Jacinda Ardern after the Marriage Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Parliament has just passed a law legalising gay marriage, 77 votes to 44, amid loud shows of jubilation from the floor and the gallery.

The declaration of the vote was followed by a waiata.

MPs held a conscience vote on the private member's bill sponsored by gay Labour MP Louisa Wall.

The bill will take effect in mid August and comes 27 years after New Zealand decriminalised homosexuality.

"Yay, we did it,'' was the celebratory catch cry from Ms Wall when she spoke to media waiting in Parliament tonight after the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed by 77 votes to 44.

Green MP Kevin Hague, National list MP Tau Henare, deputy Labour leader Grant Robertson, Labour MP Maryan Street and convenor of the Marriage Equality campaign Conrad Reyners clapped when Ms Wall spoke.

She said she had only every really hoped the `Yes' vote would reach 61.

"I never would have thought that Parliament would have overwhelming supported it - so far two-thirds of Parliament have endorsed marriage equality.

"I think the cross party working group has been incredibly effective, but it also shows we are building on our human rights tradition as a country.''

Mr Henare asked Ms Wall if she had a best man at her civil union. Ms Wall replied: "No, would you like to be mine?''

Mr Hague said it was an "enormously powerful'' day for him.

"For me it's as if our communities have come on a journey from outside of New Zealand society and we are now right inside.''

Mr Henare said Australians would now come to New Zealand for wedding ceremonies.

"Hopefully it will push the Aussies into doing something.''

Reverend Margaret Mayman said she was delighted the bill had passed.

"I am so convinced that it's not going to adversely affect people of faith. People of faith are going to be able to hold their religious views.

"We know the sun will come out tomorrow and everyone can have a big breathe and move on.''

Same-sex marriage supporters at the Campaign for Marriage Equality party in Wellington cheered loudly and applauded as the bill was passed into law.

More than a hundred supporters gathered at the San Francisco Bath House bar on Wellington's Cuba St to watch the vote.

There was a din of anticipation in the moments before the vote was announced, followed by a hush as the vote was read.

The bar then erupted into cheers and applause. Supporters embraced and joined in a waiata following the vote.

Scott Summerfield, 22, said he was thrilled with the outcome.

"I just got a text from my mother ... and I was quite thrilled to have her say she thinks I should have the same opportunities as my brother, who's straight, so that's really nice to have that support from my patents.''

Mr Summerfield said the atmosphere had been great.

"It really feels great to be gay and alive in New Zealand at the moment. I'm really proud of the waiata we sung - it was amazing.''

Mr Summerfield said it was an historic day.

"It's the last legislative barrier to equal rights for gay people or LGBT people.

"It's amazing.''

The 77 to 44 vote for tonight's third reading vote is the same as the second reading vote a few weeks ago, although two MPs voted differently tonight. National's Hamilton East MP David Bennett changed from a No vote to a Yes vote and Labour's Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene changed from a Yes vote to a No vote tonight.

Only three MPs who voted against the bill spoke.

The debate was conducted with a lot of humour, and very little acrimony except between Mr Henare and his former party leader, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

Ms Wall also acknowledged the party leaders in the House who had shown leadership by supporting her bill - Prime Minister John Key, Labour leader David Shearer, Act leader John Banks, United Future leader Peter Dunne, Mana leader Hone Harawira and Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia.

"Nothing can counteract the very real negative consequences of not passing this bill. But nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill.

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

She also thanked her "darling" civil union partner Prue Kapua for "sharing this journey with me".

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