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Sunday 13 November 2016


Marriage Equality: the process from here

Posted in: Features
By Kevin Hague - 24th March 2013

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Green MP Kevin Hague has kindly given us a quick overview of the three steps before marriage equality is (hopefully!) passed into law. He believes the Committee stage could be drawn out, as MPs get the chance to slow things down with calls and Supplementary Order Papers.

Committee of the Whole House

In this stage Parliament pretends to be a committee made up of all MPs. Go figure. It does this in order to debate the detail of the drafting of the Bill, and to consider any amendments (called Supplementary Order Papers) proposed by MPs. Sometimes it can whip through quickly, but at other times it can take a long time, because every MP is entitled to take up to three, five minute calls on each part of the Bill.

If MPs are of a mind to stretch debate out on a Bill, this is what they target, because all other debates have only 12 speaking slots. Typically they do this by taking lots of calls, and potentially tabling lots of SOPs.

On our Bill we are anticipating SOPs on several issues, and at this point we don't know whether the whole debate will finish on Wednesday.

Third Reading

On the Member's Day (every second Wednesday of sitting weeks) after the Committee stage is completed (so most likely to be 17 April or 15 May, depending how long the Committee stage lasts) we will hold the Third Reading. In form this is like the Second Reading - 12 speeches of 10 minutes each. For most Bills the Speaker works to a strict schedule of allocation of particular calls to parties, but for a Member's Bill like this, calls are allocated to individual members based on seniority, expertise and ensuring an appropriate balance of speeches for and against.

After the Third Reading

There is an automatic process of getting the Governor-General to sign the Bill (the Royal Assent) and after that the law will come into force four months afterwards. If officials can get the preparation work done faster than that, then we have also provided a mechanism for it to come into force sooner, but most likely it will be late August, or September - think Spring weddings, verdant themes etc.

(Thanks very much Kevin Hague! - GayNZ.com)


Kevin Hague - 24th March 2013

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