Gay marriage bill passes first vote in New Zealand
New Zealand already has Civil Unions but a Bill has been introduced to allow gay marriage. It passed its first reading (the first of 3 votes needed to pass the Bill), which clears it to be debated by Select Committee.
Note that while the vote was 80-40, subsequent votes will most likely be closer since it’s quite common for MPs to vote in favour of something for the first reading just to get it debated by Select Committee. The second reading, which occurs after the Select Committee debates it and hears public submissions, will be where it becomes clearer who really supports and opposes the Bill.
An interesting feature of this Bill is that our political parties don’t have a platform on gay marriage this has been a conscience vote for every party but New Zealand First (who are block voting against it). In a conscience vote party discipline doesn’t apply so every MP (apart from the 6 New Zealand First MPs) was able to decide for themselves how to vote. This is why you’ll see a decent spread of parties across the for and against votes.
So you can make some sense of the party affiliations listed in the voting record – National (a right wing party) is government with Act (right), United Future (centrist) and The Maori Party (sorta centrist) supporting. Labour (a left wing party) is the major opposition party, the Greens and Mana are also left wing parties. New Zealand First is a sort of Nixonian conservative party, but counts as centrist by our standards, perhaps even slightly to the left since National refuses to do business with them.