April 17, 2013
New Zealand: “my love for you endures and remains forevermore”
History was made on Wednesday 17th April 2013 in the New Zealand Parliament as MPs voted 77 to 44 in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. Joining Belgium, Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Uruguay, they are now the 13th nation in the world to legally recognise same-sex marriage.
But that’s not even the best bit. Oh no. Such is the passion felt by those who campaigned so hard for this change, that when the result of the parliamentary vote was announced, MPs and spectators in the public gallery spontaneously broke into song.
That’s right. They started singing.
The tune of choice was a Maori love song, entitled ‘Pokarekare Ana’. And, in more ways than one, they couldn’t have chosen a more fitting melody: the lyrics of the song (part of which I have ‘borrowed’ for the title of this article) speak of a lover who has been kept away from his / her beau by both distance and, it is suggested, a tribal difference or law which does not allow them to be together. Nevertheless the love between them is as strong as ever and will remain that way forever.
In my own sentimental, romantic way, I like to think of that as being reflective of the feelings of the campaigners for this change; they kept their strong feelings and principles, even when the law was against them, and they have finally achieved their aim. And seeing their reaction to that achievement is, quite simply, beautiful. If I were a New Zealander, I would be proud to be so today. I have never before in my life seen such an overwhelming reaction to the passing of parliamentary legislation, and I don’t know if I ever will again.
Of course, I hope I will. I hope that Whitehall will soon follow suit and make me proud to be British. When they do, I personally will be singing from the rooftops, and I cordially invite all of you to join me…
Watch New Zealand’s magical moment, from the House of Representatives in Wellington, here:
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