Same sex marriage: Why New York and New Zealand have set the bar for other states

For many countries, the issue of same sex marriage has been controversial. Today, April 17th, same sex marriage made a significant step in becoming legalised in New Zealand, with parliament voting for it to become legalised. While same sex marriage has had some opposition in New Zealand, a video showcasing the reaction of those in attendance at the parliament pushed how positive a step the legislation will be in the future. Louisa Wall, a lesbian New Zealand MP and one of the forefront campaigners for same sex marriage, was serenaded by spectators following the result. “Pokarekare Ana” is a love song sang in the Maori language, an indigenous population of New Zealand. The video showcases the appreciation that many feel toward those who campaign for equal rights and same sex marriage, and represents a mind-set that needs to be shown toward the possibility of same sex marriage in many other states.

Same sex marriage is determined by individual states in the United States. Currently, 9 states allow same sex marriage. This equates to 17% of the population being able to legally marry in their state, or their marriage from other states recognised in their own. It seems like a relatively small number, but there are currently steps taking place throughout the country to try to legalise marriage and extended rights for same sex couples.

On July 24th 2011, same sex marriage became legal in the state of New York. One of the most heart-warming stories that came out of the legalisation was that of Richard Dorr and John Mace. The couple first met in 1948 at the Juilliard school of music, and thanks to the legalisation of same sex marriage, were finally able to marry after over 60 years of being living together. They married back in August 2012, after waiting for same sex marriage to become legalised in their home state. Their story shows that for same sex couples, the fight to legalise same sex marriage is more than worth it.

Still, same sex marriage has still not been legalised in the majority of the modern world. While New Zealand and New York have shown that there are many positives to legalising same sex marriage, only 20 countries have legalised same sex marriage, or are making steps toward legalising it. For many, there is still a long and hard fight ahead. In February 2012, a poll revealed that 73% of the Irish population is in support of legalising same sex marriage. Civil partnerships are currently recognised, but they do not share the same rights as those in a marriage. Last Sunday, April 14th, the Constitutional Convention recommended that the Irish Constitution should be changed to allow same sex marriage. Any change will have to be put to a referendum which the Irish population will vote on, but it seems that there is a strong support that will allow for same sex marriage to become legalised.

About Laura Lyne 8 Articles
Final year student of Journalism and Visual Media in Griffith College, Dublin (BA Hons). Webmaster, designer and coder of websites including and Follow on Twitter @lauralyne.

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