- Parliament votes 77-44 on bill's third reading
- Law expected to take effect in four months, local media report
- Uruguay same-sex marriage measure awaits president's signature
- If New Zealand and Uruguay's measures take effect, 13 nations would allow same-sex marriage
New Zealand is set to become the one of the latest nations to allow same-sex marriage after the country's Parliament passed a bill legalizing the practice Wednesday.
Parliament voted 77-44 on the bill's third reading, which is the penultimate step to enact laws in New Zealand. The final step, in which the governor-general gives royal assent, is generally a given.
Local media report that the law is expected to take effect in four months.
The bill's sponsor, Louisa Wall, released a statement saying she was "very proud to be a member of a Parliament that has voted overwhelmingly to give New Zealanders, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender, the right to marry."
New Zealand's move comes a week after Uruguayan lawmakers approved a measure legalizing same-sex marriage. The measure awaits the signature of Uruguay's president, who has indicated he supports it.
If the laws in New Zealand and Uruguay are enacted, the count of nations allowing same-sex marriage would rise to 13.
Lawmakers in a few other nations, including the United Kingdom and France, also are considering whether to allow same-sex couples to marry. The Supreme Court of Nepal ruled in favor of legalization in 2008, but those rights haven't been put into effect because the country's new constitution has been stuck in limbo for years.
Of the 11 countries in which same-sex marriage is legal, eight are in Europe. The Netherlands was the first, in 2001, and it was later joined by Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Portugal and Denmark. Argentina, Canada and South Africa are the three non-European countries in the group.