Same-sex marriage will be legal from August the 19th.
The Marriage Amendment Act has received Royal assent after MPs voted in favour of the changes last Wednesday, allowing couples to marry regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery says from August the 19th, there will be new forms available for all couples who want to get married.
He says the Department has a lot of work to do in the intervening period before the Act comes into force, such as amending the various forms and certificates, altering the computer system, and training staff.
- Newstalk ZB
Richard Black, counselor for Strength to Strength in Christchurch talks about how to deal with the disappointment of the politicians not following the wishes of the church on the issue of Same-Sex Marriage.
Uruguay's lawmakers have just passed same-sex marriage legislation.
A clear majority in Congress voted to legalise same-sex marriage, making Uruguay the second country in South America to do so. Argentina was the first Latin American government to redefine marriage last July, with a narrow six-vote lead.
The controversial marriage legislation has been challenged in both countries by the Catholic Church; but Uruguay's bill sailed through the Lower Chamber with 71 out of 92 politicians voting in favour of it, compared to 21 against. It had already been endorsed by the Upper House, and is now awaiting a signature from the country's president to seal the deal.
BBC reports that is likely to occur within the next fortnight, as President Jose Mujica is known to have personally championed the bill legalising same-sex marraige.
Uruguay already provides for same-sex civil unions and same-sex adoption.
- RBG News
Labour's bill to legalise gay marriage is one step closer to becoming law.
Tonight MPs had the opportunity to ask for amendments to the Marriage Equality Bill - they included a referendum, and changes to provide more religious protection.
However - none of the amendments were passed, and the bill was voted through as it stood.
It will now go to a third and final reading.
Protestors both for and against the bill have been outside Parliament this evening. A prayer vigil was held but this was interrupted by chanting from supporters of the bill.
RBG News/Newstalk ZB
Davina William has today's top stories, including a wider privacy breach at the EQC; a last-minute bailout deal for Cyprus; and a social focus to the new Anglican Archbishop's ministry.
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An inter-faith prayer vigil is being planned to pray for the Marriage Amendment Bill.
A group called 'New Zealanders for Marriage' is inviting people to gather at Parliament Grounds in Wellington next Wednesday evening. The intention is to pray that marriage will be upheld instead of being redefined to include same-sex unions by the private member's bill, which many opponents feel has been expedited through the Parliamentary process without a fair hearing.
Last week, Louisa Wall's bill garnered 77 votes in favour of redefining marriage, while 44 MPs voted against it - including four politicians who withdrew their earlier support. National's Tim MacIndoe has consistently opposed the Bill, explaining that he doesn't believe it is social change for the better, and that marriage is not a universal human right.
In the event invitation, vigil organisers present the view that the institution of marriage is not merely a legal contract but a spiritual covenant - "prescribed since the beginning of time which defines our very humanity... born of a father and of a mother..." - that must be respected and preserved.
They also point out that, despite the modification inserted by the Select Committee to protect celebrants attached to religious institutions from having to marry same-sex couples, the Bill could still compromise people's right to freedom of belief.
The prayer vigil will take place in Parliament Grounds, Wellington, on the evening of Wednesday 27 March 2013, from 6:45-8:45pm. Facebook users can get in touch with organisers via the 'New Zealanders for Marriage' group page.
- press rls/ RBG News
Bob McCoskrie from Family First discusses the outcome of the second reading of the marriage act vote.
UPDATE: The Bill passed its second reading by 77-44 votes on Wednesday 12 March.
The controversial Marriage Amendment Bill heads towards its second reading tomorrow, and the New Zealand Christian Network has issued a press release about its concerns for NZ freedoms of conscience and belief, if the Bill is passed.
National Director, Glyn Carpenter, spoke about those concerns with Struan Purdie.
- RBG News
For more information visit www.protectmarriage.org.nz
There's a suggestion that with public support for redefining marriage fading, the outcome should ultimately be determined by a referendum.
The Conservative Party is pointing to a decrease of about 16% across three separate polls over the past one-and-a-half years, as a good indicator that our politicians' apparent haste to reform marriage legislation is unseemly, and "does not work in the best interest of New Zealand.”
Colin Craig, Leader of the Conservative Party, questioned Parliament's priorities.
“It was my expectation when Mr. Key said the economy would be the priority of the National Government, that social activist issues such as gay marriage would not be fast-tracked. However, it is fast becoming clear that the legacy of this National Government will be one of social reform, not of economic achievement,” he says.
Mr Craig compared the accelerated trajectory of marriage amendment legislation with other bills. He pointed out that the Parental Leave and Employment Bill, the Lobbying Disclosure Bill and the Members of Parliament Remuneration and Services Bill have all been given over a year from First Reading to Select Committee report stage.
In startling contrast, the "Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill" - which received nearly 20,000 submissions, of which only about 1% was heard - has been pushed through the Select Committee in just seven months. It was first pulled out of the members' bill ballot box in July last year, had its First Reading the next month, was reported on by the Select Committe by the end of February 2013, and is due for its second reading.
The Conservative Party suggests this haste has only been possible by denying most submitters the right to present to the committee, and believes support for the bill is fading rapidly. The Party referred to three different polls - beginning last June, and ending with the latest in February:
Colin Craig believes that the discussion needs to continue, and is urging the government to recognise that this matter should be decided by a referendum of voters at the next election, rather than fast-tracked on a political agenda.
- press release/ RBG News