Another milestone has been passed by the Civil Union Bill which has got through its second reading with MPs voting 65 to 55 in favour of the controversial legislation.

The bill which allows gay and heterosexual couples to form legally recognised "civil unions" passed its first reading by 66 votes to 50. The conscience vote was an indication of how the final vote may go next week.

National's Don Brash reaffirmed he would not back the Civil Union Bill but said he did believe in a legal framework for same-sex couples.

Dr Brash refused to support the legislation because he wants it to go to a referendum. He said if it did, his vote would be in favour.

Transsexual MP Georgina Beyer delivered an impassioned speech in favour of the Bill.

The public gallery gave Ms Beyer rousing applause following her speech in which she said that gays may be different but they hold the same values, particularly when it comes to families. Ms Beyer said discrimination against those who are different must end.

Labour MP Moana Mackey told the House it was absurd to claim homosexual unions distort the sanctity of marriage.

She said there were no complaints when a radio station married two complete strangers and only brief controversy.

MPs say they have faced unparalleled lobbying on the bill.

The Catholic Church urged its members to take note of the way their MPs voted on the Civil Union Bill today when deciding who to support at the next election.

Catholic bishops have sent their unprecedented message in a letter to parishes, to be read from pulpits this Sunday.

In the letter, the bishops say they feel obliged to take their action because of the grave implications of the legislation.

How the MPs voted

The final vote was 65 to 55.

AYES: 65

Jim Anderton (Prog C, Wigram)

Rick Barker (Lab, Tukituki)

Tim Barnett (Lab, Christchurch Central)

David Benson-Pope (Lab, Dunedin South)

Georgina Beyer (Lab, Wairarapa)

Sue Bradford (Greens, list)

Mark Burton (Lab, Taupo)

Chris Carter (Lab, list)

Steve Chadwick (Lab, Rotorua)

Ashraf Choudhary (Lab, list)

Helen Clark (Lab, Mt Albert)

Michael Cullen (Lab, list)

David Cunliffe (Lab, New Lynn)

Lianne Dalziel (Lab, Christchurch East)

Rod Donald (Greens, list)

Brian Donnelly (NZ First, list)

Helen Duncan (Labour, list)

Ruth Dyson (Lab, Banks Peninsula)

Ian Ewen-Street (Greens, list)

Russell Fairbrother (Lab, Napier)

Jeanette Fitzsimons (Greens, list)

Martin Gallagher (Lab, Hamilton West)

Phil Goff (Lab, Mt Roskill)

Mark Gosche (Lab, Maungakiekie)

Ann Hartley (Lab, Northcote)

George Hawkins (Lab, Manurewa)

Dave Hereora (Lab, list)

Rodney Hide (ACT, list)

Marian Hobbs (Lab, Wellington Central)

Pete Hodgson (Lab, Dunedin North)

Parekura Horomia (Lab, Ikaroa-Rawhiti)

Darren Hughes (Lab, Otaki)

Jonathan Hunt (Lab, list)

Sue Kedgley (Greens, list)

Annette King (Lab, Rongotai)

Winnie Laban (Lab, Mana)

Keith Locke (Greens, list)

Janet Mackey (Lab, East Coast)

Moana Mackey (Lab, list)

Steve Maharey (Lab, Palmerston North)

Nanaia Mahuta (Lab, Tainui)

Trevor Mallard (Lab, Hutt South)

Ron Mark (NZ First, list)

Mahara Okeroa (Lab, Te Tai Tonga)

David Parker (Lab, Otago)

Mark Peck (Lab, Invercargill)

Jill Pettis (Lab, Whanganui)

Lynne Pillay (Lab, Waitakere)

Richard Prebble (ACT, list)

Katherine Rich (Nat, list)

Mita Ririnui (Lab, Waiariki)

Matt Robson (Prog C, list)

Heather Roy (ACT, list)

Dover Samuels (Lab, Te Tai Tokerau)

Ken Shirley (ACT, list)

Clem Simich (Nat, Tamaki)

Jim Sutton (Lab, Aoraki)

Paul Swain (Lab, Rimutaka)

Nandor Tanczos (Greens, list)

Judith Tizard (Lab, Auckland Central)

Metiria Turei (Greens, list)

Mike Ward (Greens, list)

Margaret Wilson (Lab, list)

Pansy Wong (Nat, list)

Dianne Yates (Lab, list) 

NOES: 55

Paul Adams (UF, list)

Marc Alexander (UF, list)

Shane Ardern (Nat, Taranaki-King Country)

Larry Baldock (United Future, list)

Don Brash (Nat, list)

Peter Brown (NZ First, list)

Gerry Brownlee (Nat, Ilam)

David Carter (Nat, list)

John Carter (Nat, Northland)

Brent Catchpole (NZ First, list)

Deborah Coddington (ACT, list)

Judith Collins (Nat, Clevedon)

Brian Connell (Nat, Rakaia)

Gordon Copeland (UF, list)

Clayton Cosgrove (Lab, Waimakariri)

Peter Dunne (UF, Ohariu-Belmont)

Harry Duynhoven (Lab, New Plymouth)

Gerrard Eckhoff (ACT, list)

Bill English (Nat, Clutha-Southland)

Taito Phillip Field (Lab, Mangere)

Stephen Franks (ACT, list)

Sandra Goudie (Nat, Coromandel)

Bill Gudgeon (NZ First, list)

Phil Heatley (Nat, Whangarei)

Paul Hutchison (Nat, Port Waikato)

Dail Jones (NZ First, list)

John Key (Nat, Helensville)

Wayne Mapp (Nat, North Shore)

Murray McCully (Nat, Albany)

Craig McNair (NZ First, list)

Muriel Newman (ACT, list)

Damien O'Connor (Lab, West Coast-Tasman)

Bernie Ogilvy (UF, list)

Pita Paraone (NZ First, list)

Edwin Perry (NZ First, list)

Jim Peters (NZ First, list)

Winston Peters (NZ First, Tauranga)

Simon Power (Nat, Rangitikei)

Ross Robertson (Lab, Manukau East)

Tony Ryall (Nat, Bay of Plenty)

Lynda Scott (Nat, Kaikoura)

Lockwood Smith (Nat, Rodney)

Murray Smith (UF, list)

Nick Smith (Nat, Nelson)

Roger Sowry (Nat, list)

Barbara Stewart (NZ First, list)

John Tamihere (Lab, Tamaki Makarau)

Georgina te Heuheu (Nat, list)

Lindsay Tisch (Nat, Piako)

Tariana Turia (Te Tai Hauauru)

Judy Turner (UF, list)

Kenneth Wang (ACT, list)

Maurice Williamson (Nat, Pakuranga)

Doug Woolerton (NZ First, list)

Richard Worth (Nat, Epsom)


- Newstalk ZB and Herald Staff