My idyllic home country of New Zealand has now legalized same-sex marriage. I’m always proud to be a Kiwi but especially at times like this. We were the first country to give women the right to vote (a key figure responsible for women’s suffrage in NZ, Kate Sheppard, appears on the NZ$10 note). We were also the first to give the world the magnificent dessert known as the pavlova. Now we are keeping up the trend by being the first country in the Asia-Pacific region, though only the thirteenth country in the world, to legalize gay marriage.
As a Kiwi living in the United States, the funny thing about this to me is that the legislation passed through the NZ Parliament despite the fact that the conservative party (National) is in control. New Zealand’s conservative party is more socially liberal than the liberal Democrat party of the United States! In fact, out of the 57 National Members of Parliament, nearly half of them (27) voted for the legislation. Why is National – the main conservative party of NZ – passing same-sex marriage legislation? It probably has something to do with the fact that the religious zealots do not control the National party. In fact, the leader of National and Prime Minister of NZ, John Key, is an agnostic when it comes to the question of God. And no one in NZ really gives a crap.
If you read the news article I linked to, you will find this in the final paragraph:
Same-sex couples wanting to get married will have to wait around four months before they can tie the knot because the Department of Internal Affairs has to upgrade its computer systems.
That’s the New Zealand I know and love. Very progressive, yet at the same time so antediluvian in her ways.