New Zealand says Yes to same sex marriageTwenty-seven years after decriminalizing homosexuality, New Zealand passes a bill to provide same-sex marriage rights to its lesbian and gay citizens.

After years of tireless campaigning by civil rights activists and marriage equality groups, last night, the New Zealand parliament finally passed a law legalizing gay marriage,

MPs held a conscience vote on the private member’s bill sponsored by gay Labour MP Louisa Wall. The vote for the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill was cast at 77 for and 44 against allowing the legislation to be approved.

The vote declaration was followed by a spontaneous outburst by the gallery – who sang a traditional Maori love song.

The bill marking the new legislation will take effect in August.

Ms Wall also acknowledged the party leaders in the House who had shown leadership by supporting her bill – Prime Minister John Key, Labour leader David Shearer, Act leader John Banks, United Future leader Peter Dunne, Mana leader Hone Harawira and Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia.

“Nothing can counteract the very real negative consequences of not passing this bill. But nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill. I thank my colleagues for simply doing what is just, fair and right.”

Wall also thanked her civil union partner, Prue Kapua, for “sharing this journey with me”.