It was a decades-long journey that was appropriately capped off with a parliament speech for the ages.
Speaking in support of MP Louisa Wall's Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, MP Maurice Williamson of the National Party delivered what some are hailing as "one of the greatest speeches ever delivered at a marriage equality debate."
After warming up the crowd with some jokes about a Catholic priest who chided Williamson for "supporting an unnatural act" despite having "taken an oath of celibacy" himself, and the unlikelihood that he (Williamson) will "burn in the fires of hell for eternity" given his "body weight and humidity," the lawmaker got down to brass tacks:
A huge amount of the opposition was from moderates, from people who were concerned, who were seriously worried what this might do to the fabric of our society. I respect their concern. I respect their worry. They were worried about what it might do to their families, and so on.
Let me repeat to them now: All we are doing with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognized by way of marriage.
That is all we are doing. We are not declaring nuclear war on a foreign state. We are not bringing a virus in that could wipe out our agricultural sector forever. We are allowing two people who love each other to have that recognized, and I can't see what's wrong with that for love nor money.
I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill right now. I give you a watertight guaranteed promise; the sun will still rise tomorrow, your teenage daughter will still argue back with you as if she knows everything, your mortgage will not grow, you will not have skin diseases or rashes or toads in your bed. The world will just carry on.
The Pakuranga representative concluded his stirring address by noting that, contrary to claims that the marriage equality bill was responsible for New Zealand's drought, it was actually "pouring with rain" in his electorate.
Williamson's moving words appear to have gone unheard by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Responding to a question about New Zealand's legalization of same-sex marriage, Gillard stated that she remains firmly opposed to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.