New Zealand’s National Party prime minister John Key has confirmed that he supports gay marriage and will vote for a same-sex marriage bill that has been put before parliament.
‘My view has been that if two gay people want to get married then I can't see why it would undermine my marriage to Bronagh [his wife],” Key said in an interview with RadioLive NZ this morning.
However Key also admitted that he thought many National Party MPs would oppose the bill. ‘There will be plenty of people in our caucus who will be deeply opposed - particularly the very religious ones, and I can understand that,’ he said.
Key added ‘we first need to go and have the debates’ before all 121 MPs in the parliament are allowed a free conscience vote on the issue.
A survey from the New Zealand Herald showed that 53 MPs support the same-sex marriage bill, three are against, 48 are undecided and 17 did not respond to the survey.
The first debate is likely to be held before September.
New Zealand politicians were quiet on the issue of gay marriage, until US President Barak Obama made his historic endorsement last May.
Following Obama’s announcement, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he ‘was not personally opposed’ to legalizing same-sex marriage.
Father of American gay marriage movement speaks in New Zealand
Meanwhile, the father of the same-sex marriage movement in the US spoke at a gay rights seminar at Victoria University in Wellington on Saturday.
Evan Wolfson, a lawyer and advocate who wrote an influential book about gay marriage, was on vacation in New Zealand with his husband Cheng He and was invited to the panel discussion at Victoria University.
‘New Zealand has already got a head start in that about 66 per cent of New Zealanders already support equal marriage rights,’ said Wolfson, as reported by Stuff.co.nz.
‘We hope that New Zealand will become the next country in the world to end the denial of marriage to same sex couples.’