New Zealand’s Parliament voted to approve gay marriage on Wednesday, April 17 with a 77-44 favorable vote. The vote reflected minimal defection from the 78-40 approval given the first reading of the bill last August.
Conservative opposition to the measure promises to continue to fight gay marriage in spite of the bill’s passage.
“We have seen the public vote disregarded on law and order, on the number of MPs and on the Anti-Smacking Bill. Parliament’s unwillingness to even put the marriage issue to the people sadly comes as no surprise,” said Colin Craig, Conservative Party leader of New Zealand
Family First, an organization describing itself as “advocating principles for building marriages and parenting today’s children” garnered 50,000 signatures in a grassroots campaign to do away with the law. Since submission of those signatures, Al Jazeera reports the group has obtained an additional 25,000 signatures.
Wednesday’s vote makes New Zealand the 13th nation to legalize gay marriage, and the first Asian-Pacific nation to do so. Passage of the bill follows gay marriage approval in Uruguay just one week before. France is expected to follow with a vote finalizing approval of gay marriage rights in the near future – possibly as soon as this Tuesday according to The Guardian.