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New Zealand Passes Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
NEW YORK - April 17 - Today the New Zealand Parliament passed the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in its third and final vote of a marriage bill. The bill was sponsored by Labour MP Louisa Wall and passed its second reading on March 13, with nearly all party leaders in support.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
“Following last week's vote for marriage in Uruguay, New Zealand today became the 16th country where same-sex couples can now share in the freedom to marry -- and grew the number of freedom to marry continents to five," said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. "With France poised to embrace the freedom to marry within the month, and England and others likely to move to marriage this year, the global momentum for the freedom to marry is undeniable. The momentum is there because the more people have talked about gay people and why marriage matters, the more it's become clear there is no good reason to continue the exclusion from marriage. It's time for decision-makers in the United States to end the denial of marriage, do right by all families, and uphold our own American commitment to liberty and justice for all."
The first weddings for same-sex couples are expected to begin in mid-August, four months after the Governor-General signs the bill into law. With the law’s passage, New Zealand will become the 16th country in the world to provide nationwide or regional recognition for married same-sex couples.