The controversial marriage equality bill has passed its second reading in Parliament tonight.
MP Louisa Wall's Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill,
which would allow same-sex couples to marry, was passed with 77 in
favour and 44 against.
MPs also voted on whether a referendum would be held on the issue, with 33 voting in favour and 83 against.
Wall told Parliament that denying marriage to someone is to essentially not recognise them as a person.
"This Bill is about marriage equality. It's not about
gay marriage, same sex marriage or straight marriage. It's about
marriage between two people. There's no distinction to be made. That is
equality," she said.
"Whether the form of that marriage is religious, secular or cultural
is a matter for the couple to determine. Denying marriage to a person is
to devalue that person's right to participate fully in all that life
offers ... No state has the right to do that."
The bill passed its first reading in August last year with 80 in favour and 40 against.
It will have to go through further amendments and a third reading before it can be passed into law.
I have heard this will be in April. While 3 votes moved, this is not unexpected as some members will often vote for a first reading to allow discussion, then oppose the 2nd. It would be very unusual for the 3rd reading to be unsuccessful after such a good majority in the 2nd.