the moments that change everything #2

It has been a week of moments; and not all of them have been tragic.

On Wednesday the New Zealand Parliament passed the Marriage Amendment Bill, making same-sex marriage legal in this country. New Zealand is the 13th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, and the first in the Asia-Pacific region.

The passing of the Bill is a culmination of many years of lobbying and many months of hard work by MPs and others. Before the debate, it seemed likely that the Bill would pass, but the actual moment when the result of the ballot was read out was definitely a moment that has changed everything. For same-sex couples who wish to marry, the change is obvious and profound. But for New Zealanders generally, it was a moment when our elected representatives chose equality over tradition.

At the risk of jumping on an already overcrowded bandwagon, I want to acknowledge two other “moments” from that night. The first is Maurice Williamson’s brilliant speech in support of the Bill; the second is the spontaneous waiata (song) from the public gallery when the Bill was passed.

In a week of tragic, cruel and painful moments that changed so many lives for the worse, it is good to be able to celebrate some moments of joy and of justice.

the moments that change everything

DSC07372It has been a week of moments.

Some – like the Boston Marathon bombing, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas; or the earthquake in the Sichuan provence of China – are moments of public as well as intense personal tragedy. Wholly unexpected events which – quite literally in these cases – have torn worlds and lives asunder, leaving not only those directly involved, but the rest of us also trying to know what to do and how to respond. What does it mean? Why did it happen? How can we help?

While bomb blasts and industrial explosions are outside of my personal experience (earthquakes I know about), I cannot but share in the anguish and pain and sorrow and anger of my global brothers and sisters who have either lost those they loved and held dearest, or who must now build a much-different life because they, family members or friends have been injured or have become homeless.

And perhaps my empathy is stronger this week because my family too has experienced moments that have changed everything. Continue reading