Spurred by President Barack Obama’s public support of same-sex marriage,New Zealand lawmakers are expected to cast a first vote in favor of a gay marriage bill.
Wednesday’s vote is the first of three the Parliament must take before a bill can become law,a process that typically takes several months. Both supporters and opponents agree the measure likely has enough support to pass the initial vote.
Should New Zealand ultimately pass the measure into law,it would become the 12th country since 2001 to recognize same-sex marriage.
Some states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages,but the federal government does not.
Recent polls indicate about two-thirds of New Zealanders support gay marriage. It also has the support of most of the country’s political leaders.