After Passing Marriage Equality Law, Will New Zealand Also Legalise Gay Adoptions?

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By Vittorio Hernandez | April 18, 2013 9:03 AM EST

Until April 16, 2013, Tuesday, there were only two rights that gays in New Zealand did not enjoy - the right to adopt children as a couple and the right to marry. The next day, the country's Parliament passed the Marriage Equality law that granted same-sex couples the right to marry, leaving only the right to adopt children as a couple as the only one right still denied them.

However, with the 77 to 44 votes in favour of gay marriages, the group Make Gay Adoption Legal in New Zealand is keeping its fingers crossed that one day, they will also be given the same right.

In October 2012, the Greens Party drafted a bill to revamp New Zealand's adoption law to include same-sex couples. The private member's bill, written by MP  Kevin Hague, seeks to remove restrictions on the kinds of people who can adopt. It would also enable the Maori cultural practice of Whangai in which children are raised by other members of whanau, and enabled as well children born through surrogacy to be adopted.

With the move by the Parliament, New Zealand becomes the 13th nation to recognise gay marriages after The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Uruguay is expected to be the 14th country since its legislators actually approved a marriage equality bill last week which Uruguayan President Jose Mujica is expected to sign.

Before the Marriage Equality Bill, authored by MP Louisa Wall, was passed, there were two hours of debate. Among the most applauded was the speech of Green MP Mojo Mathers who recounted her second daughter attending a formal event in 2012 with her girlfriend.

Ms Mathers said her second daughter, like other young woman, is hoping to have love, marriage, children and a house with a white picket fence.

"All of these options are available to her older sister. To see them have equal rights before the law is very important to me," she said.

It was precisely the same dream that Jessica Molina, a 21-year-old resident of Hamilton and a university student, wrote in her blog titled Marriage equality: Fighting for love which eventually was published by Stuff.co.nz.

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Jessica, who was raised Catholic and described herself as a perennial single girl, explained, "My siblings and I were raised by parents who are still married and very much in love. I am straight and this does not concern me at all. It's because I am standing up for love."

"I am going to keep fighting for the couples who can't marry who they love because of their gender. I am going to keep believing that people's minds will change, that someday we will look back on this as a turning point in our evolution as humans. Because really at the end of the day we all just want one thing: To have someone special to share this amazing life with," she added.

Among those who will benefit directly from the new law is Kiwi gay couple Tamati Coffey and Tim Smith who had a civil union because that was their only option before.

"Every ounce of me questioned it, but love made me do it. Now, love has made me vocal about wanting the full marriage package, not a half measure," The New Zealand Herald quoted Mr Coffey.

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