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A year on: the magic of April 17, 2013

Thu 17 Apr 2014 In: Features View at Wayback View at NDHA

It's one year since marriage equality legislation spectacularly passed its third and final reading in Parliament. We remember some of the magic moments from that historic day. Lynda Topp, telling it how it is “I think everybody should be able to stand up and say 'I'm getting married.' A civil union is demeaning... this idea that you will never be good enough, that your love is somehow less than or not as worthy. There's no romance to it.” Seeing that line snake around the corner There was limited public seating in Parliament, so people were told to get in early if they wanted a seat. And they did, with the line building just as quickly as the excitement outside Parliament. Classic Grant Robertson “Nothing about this legislation will affect anyone else's marriage. Husbands will still call their wives their wife and vice versa. I will let you all in on a secret: we have all been calling our partners husbands for years. Normally it is when I am being told off.” Mojo Mathers' pride in her daughter “Like countless other young women, she hopes for love, marriage, children, a good job, and a house with a white picket fence. All of these options are available to her older sister. When this bill passes tonight, which I hope it does, it will give both of my daughters the equal opportunity to marry the person they love.” John Banks said … what? “I am one of a handful of members who was here in the very early days of these debates. After three decades and 10 Parliaments, I have had time to reflect—to reflect on what I said and to reflect on what I did. If I knew then what I have since learnt, I would have acted differently. I see this as a debate more about human rights, predicated on the basis that we are all entitled to live our lives to the fullest extent of human happiness, while respecting the rights and beliefs of others.” Maurice Williamson's magnificent speech There were many amazing speeches during the entire debate, but only one which has since exploded all over the globe and made a hilariously masterful National MP something of a cult legend. "One of the messages I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought. Well, if any of you follow my Twitter account, you will see that in the Pakuranga electorate this morning, it was pouring with rain – we have the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate. It has to be a sign," he said, making us crack up all over the country. "We are really struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like. We don't know if it'll come down the Pakuranga highway as a series of troops, or whether it'll be a gas that flows in over the electorate and locks us all in. I also had a Catholic priest tell me that I was supporting an 'unnatural act'. I found that quite interesting coming from someone who's taken an oath of celibacy for his whole life." When the bill passed and Parliament broke into song E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e. (Oh my beloved girl, come back to me, I could die of love for you.) It is New Zealand's love song, and so rightly underpinned the beginning of celebrations in a debate which we all know is truly about love, no matter what the critics say. The House reverberating with that song as MPs hugged and congratulated Louisa Wall send shivers up the spine and will go down as one of the most memorable moments in New Zealand's GLBT history. The celebrations which lasted long into the night The crowd spilled out onto the street at Auckland's Caluzzi In Wellington, Lynda Topp and politicians from across the spectrum visited party central S Jacqui Stanford - 17th April 2014    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Thursday, 17th April 2014 - 8:53am

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