The 2nd reading of New Zealand's marriage equality legislation took place last night and passed overwhelmingly, 77-44. Months earlier the first reading (aka vote) had taken place and back then the legislation was favored by an 80-40 margin.
Supporters were initially worried that they would lose a lot of support between the 1st and 2nd readings, since some legislators had only pledged an 'aye' vote for the 1st reading. But last night that concern was dismissed as again an overwhelming majority of MPs supported the legislation.
A third and final reading (which is generally considered to be more of a formality) should take place in April. The law would take effect four months after passage. Marriage equality in New Zealand is therefore pretty much of a done deal!
New Zealand's major step towards marriage equality comes on the heels of both the UK's parliament and the French National Assembly voting for same-sex marriage by lopsided votes. (In the UK, a 2nd reading is to take place soon; in France, the legislation has to still be considered by the Senate, where it is expected to easily pass).
It is also happening at the same time as the Minnesota and Illinois legislatures are actively considering legalizing same-sex marriage, although passage in neither body is assured and the votes are expected to be very close if the legislation is brought to a vote in the Illinois House (it's already passed the Senate) and the two houses of the Minnesota legislature.
But one thing is clear; it's no longer a matter of if in many places (UK, France, New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, Finland, Scotland, Ireland, and a significant number of US States), but simply when. And the process is speeding up.