Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Zealand Progress

New Zealand's marriage equality bill, called the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, has passed its First Reading: 80 aye, 40 no, and no abstentions.

The bill now goes to Select Committee, which will hold public hearings on the bill. The committee can recommend amendments, and explains its reasons in a report to the House.

Not less than three sitting days later, the bill can be read a second time. Amendments unanimously supported by the Select Committee are considered as part of the bill, and amendments that don’t have unanimous agreement are debated individually after the main debate on the bill. If it loses the vote on the second reading, it’s over.

If the bill passes its second reading, it’s considered by a committee of the whole House. There is no time limit on debate, so this can take several days. Once they agree to a final version, it’s reprinted with the changes and is ready for its third reading.

The final debate is usually not as involved, and bills that make it to this stage are rarely rejected.

The final step is Royal Assent: The Sovereign or Sovereign’s representative (the Governor General) must sign it for it to become law. I’m not aware of any instance in which this has been withheld in New Zealand.

So, all this means one vote down, two more readings (votes) to go before it's law—but the size of tonight's vote is HUGELY encouraging. Like a lot of other people, I expected the vote to be tighter, so I'm especially happy because the huge margin makes eventual passage much more likely.


Meanwhile, in Florida, the US Republican Party called for all same-gender marriages to be outlawed throughout the country—and no civil unions, either…


Roger Owen Green said...

I've been oddly uninterested in whatever's going on in FL. Didn't listen to either Christie's or A Romney's speeches.

Arthur Schenck said...

Me, too. The Republican speakers have nothing to say that interests me, since there's no way I'd ever even consider voting for their nominees. I may watch the nominees' speeches online later, but probably won't.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.