Article Title:Parliament votes to accept Civil Unions Bill
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:24th June 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2388
Text:The Civil Unions Bill has been accepted and passed to a parliamentary select committee after its first reading. By a vote of 66 for and 50 against, with 3 no votes, MPs have agreed to pass the controversial legislation to committee for public representations and debate. The bill aims to confer legal status on same-sex and straight relationships outside marriage. However, some opponents of the bill say it undermines the sanctity of marriage while others say it is marriage in all but name. Supporters say it is a natural follow-on from human rights and anti-discrimination legislation adopted years, and in some case decades, ago. In a sometimes passionate session MPs occasionally took cheap shots at gays ("Gay means happy and I see nothing happy about being gay") or expressed deep moral and/or religious opposition ("This bill is an abomination"). Others spoke of the fairness of the legislation in ending legal discrimination against gays in relationships. NZ First's Peter Brown went so far as to express fears about gay male couples bringing up children, though mentioned no such fears about lesbians with families. Debate also started on the accompanying Relationships Bill which would amend hundreds of pieces of legislation to conform to the Human Rights act which came into force in early 1994. However the house adjourned until Tuesday before all scheduled speeches could be made and a vote taken.    
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