With the only weeks to go till a historic vote, the New Zealand Parliament is zeroing in on passing marriage-equality legislation. A proposal by Labour Party MP Louisa Wall calls for an up-or-down vote on allowing same-sex couples to marry. She told the New Zealand Herald she was buoyed by Prime Minister John Key’s apparent support of the bill: “I don’t under-estimate the Prime Minister coming out really clearly and signalling to the rest of the country that we shouldn’t be afraid of having this discussion.”
Currently 54 of the 121 members of the legislature support the bill, with many backers from not just the liberal Labour Party but the GOP-like National Party.
Winston Peters, leader of the small-but-influential New Zealand First party, had initially signaled he may call for a national referendum: “Serious issues like this should be decided by the public of this country and not a few temporarily empowered politicians,” Peters told the Herald.
But New Zealand’s 3 News is reporting today that the 19-year-old NZF is abstaining from the vote, meaning the measure only needs 57 votes—or three more than it’s currently secured—to pass, making the reality of same-sex marriage far more likely.