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One year on "a surreal feeling" says Wall

Thu 17 Apr 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

“People are getting married, that’s all that’s happened,” is the verdict of marriage equality champion Louisa Wall, on the one year anniversary of her law passing. Twelve months ago delighted cries rang out in Parliament, gay bars and homes across the country as MPs passed the third reading of the marriage equality legislation. Wall says it’s a “surreal feeling” to be a year on from the historic day. “But for me, it’s normal, it feels normal, it doesn’t feel like anything other than what marriages should be like. From my perspective, I don’t think there are any distinctions. People are getting married, that’s all that’s happened.” While she hasn’t yet got her hands on the latest marriage figures, Wall thinks what has happened since last August when the law came into effect “is that a whole lot of people have got married and families and communities have had celebrations. I haven’t seen any negative reporting at all, to be honest, so I think we’ve just had a pretty seamless transition.” The Labour MP says it was always about allowing two people who love each other to get a marriage licence and join hands in front of friends and family. “I’m really happy with how it’s been implemented,” she says, commending Internal Affairs for its work, and the fact it allowed any existing civil union celebrants who wished to also conduct weddings to easily be able to do so. “From my perspective, the administration post the Bill going through has been really, really good. There haven’t been any complaints that I know of. “And as a society we’ve kind of just embraced it and got on with life, no drama.” Meanwhile she is standing again so is pretty busy in her Manurewa electorate. “Every Sunday at the Manurewa markets, and I have been invited to a few church either openings or events, so that’s been quite good. So life’s kind of moved on and I am focused on just contributing as much as I can to this term in Government.” Just this month Wall finalised sorting out a heart-breaking anomaly. She got a rare Private Bill through the House so a young Wellington woman can have both her mums’ names on her birth certificate. Now the rights-minded Labour MP is leading a charge for gender identity to finally be clearly and specifically protected under the Human Rights Act, taking the first step just yesterday, timing she agrees is fitting considering today’s anniversary. Wall says she simply tries to remain aware of everything that is happening in Parliament, and takes opportunities when they arise. “It all fits really well and I think that it qualifies for consideration,” she says of her new charge. “So I look forward to the process. I will make a submission myself, and I hope members of our glbtiq community make submissions as well.”     

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 17th April 2014 - 10:31am

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