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.