New Zealand lawmakers will debate a
bill which would legalize gay marriage on the island country.
The bill, sponsored by Louisa Wall, an
openly gay member of the Labour Party, was chosen at random on
Thursday. It could be debated by Parliament as early as next month.
Wall said U.S. President Barack Obama's
endorsement of gay marriage gave momentum to the the bill.
Prime Minister John Key has previously
voiced his support for such a bill to be considered by a select
committee. However, Key in 2004 voted against the nation's civil
Key's National Party controls 59 out of
121 Parliament seats. Labour comes in second with 34 seats.
“I think it's got a good chance of
going through,” David Shearer, leader of the opposition Labour
Party, told Stuff.co.nz.
“I think it's the reality of our times. It just effectively puts
in place what's already in existence.”
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English
called marriage equality “not that important.”
“In the big picture, it's not that
important,” English said. “We're focusing on jobs. … I thought
the problem had been solved [with civil unions].”