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New Zealand legalizes gay marriage in Asia-Pacific first

NEW ZEALAND

Parliament legalizes same-sex marriage

New Zealand became the first Asia-Pacific nation to legalize same-sex marriage after a parliament vote yesterday, 27 years after sexual relations between men were decriminalized.

The third and final reading of the Marriage Equality Bill was passed 77-44. The legislation amends 1955 laws to rule that all adults in New Zealand, including those identified as transgender or transsexual, can marry.

New Zealand joins 11 other nations that allow same-sex marriage, including Canada, South Africa and Spain.

Prime Minister John Key voted in favor of the law change, after last May saying he wasn’t opposed to gay marriage, shortly after President Obama voiced his support.

Key had previously voted against civil unions, which New Zealand legalized in 2005.

Both supporters and opponents gathered in Wellington ahead of the vote. The first reading of the bill in August passed 80-40, and the second in March by 77-44, according to statements from Louisa Wall, the parliamentarian from the main opposition Labour Party who sponsored the bill.

Bloomberg News

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