By Ian Wishart
The same sex marriage bill has passed its second reading tonight in the New Zealand parliament, making gay marriage almost a certainty in that country.
The bill will have to pass a formality third reading in a few weeks before being signed into law, but that is now almost a foregone conclusion after it passed by 77 to 44.
A motion from NZ First leader Winston Peters calling for it to be put to a binding public referendum was defeated by 83 to 33.
The margin on the first reading of the bill last year was 80 for, 40 against.
New Zealand becomes the third of the five Anglosphere nations to approve same sex marriage. Last month Britain passed a similar law, although the governing party took a pounding in the polls afterward as a result. Same sex marriage has been legal since 2004 in Canada thanks to a Supreme Court ruling.
Australia has recently voted gay marriage down by a two to one majority, while US president Barrack Obama is supporting same sex marriage in that country.
The votes in all countries follow a successful 25 year marketing campaign by gay activists.