New Zealand Lawmakers to Debate Gay Marriage Bill

Associated Press

Thursday July 26, 2012

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - New Zealand lawmakers will debate a bill to make same-sex marriage legal.

The bill was one of several picked at random from a parliamentary ballot Thursday.

Bill sponsor Louisa Wall, an openly gay member of the opposition Labour Party, says she's confident the bill will get majority support from lawmakers and the public.

The leaders of both major parties have previously said they would support such a bill progressing to a so-called select committee. That would give the public and interest groups an opportunity to weigh in before lawmakers debate a final version in several months.

Wall says U.S. President Barack Obama's public support of gay marriage in May gave impetus to the bill.

New Zealand currently has civil union laws that grant many of the same rights as marriage.

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