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Yet another country gets it…New Zealand OKs civil unions

Labour Party lawmaker Tim Barnett supported the bill.

What is f*cking wrong with our country? At this point, it’s just plain embarrassing how backward we are. (AP):

A law allowing same-sex partners to have nearly the same legal rights as married couples came into force in New Zealand on Tuesday, with the first of the newly defined civil unions expected this weekend.

The measure stops short of legalizing same-sex marriages, but it was fiercely opposed by religious groups who called it a “gay marriage law” and said it undermined the importance of traditional marriages.

The law makes civil union ceremonies available for both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples seeking a pact that’s nominally less binding than marriage. Registration takes at least three days, and local media said the first ceremony was expected Saturday.

Labour Party lawmaker Tim Barnett, who lobbied for the bill, said he hoped that ceremonies over the weekend would cause opponents of civil unions to reconsider.

“They will see two people who are committed and want the world to know,” Barnett said. “I would have thought it’s hard for people to feel threatened by that.”

Two men who led the fight for the new law, 18-year couple John Jolliff, 75, and Des Smith, 65, planned to tie the knot Sunday at Wellington Town Hall in the capital with Mayor Kerry Prendergast presiding.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding