TVNZ, NZ HERALD, FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 3 NEWS (New Zealand)

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WELLINGTON – New Zealand has become the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.

Parliament voted 77-44 late Wednesday to amend the 1955 Marriage Act to describe marriage as a union of two people regardless of their sex, sexuality or how they choose to identify their gender.

People were queuing in the rain outside Parliament, reported broadcaster TVNZ, to witness the groundbreaking legislation.

The line has already started to get into parliament and watch a little history #MarriageEquality instagram.com/p/YMcGLFu7UT/

— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) April 17, 2013

Crowds are spilling onto K Rd footpaths as they gather to watch Louisa Wall's Marriage Equality Bill #MarriageEquality

— Morgan Tait (@morgtait) April 17, 2013

Member of Parliament Louisa Wall, who introduced the bill, started the session with an emotional speech, saying “In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal – it’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person,” reported Fairfax NZ News.

“Having Parliament recognize and address injustices and unfairness matters to those affected by it. It’s the start of a healing process,” TVNZ quoted Wall as saying.

“Excluding a group in society from marriage is oppressive and unacceptable,” said Wall, who later thanked her partner for "sharing this journey." “There’s no justification for the prohibitions of the past based on religion, race or gender.”

“Nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill,” she concluded, receiving a standing ovation and rounds of applause.

Watch her full speech here.

The bill passed after months of emotional debate, parliamentary submissions and passionate protests from both sides of the issue, reported the New Zealand Herald.

MP Louisa Wall in Parliament on Wednesday:

So pleasing to see #marriageequality trending above #thatcherfuneral. It's what she wouldn't have wanted.

— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) April 17, 2013

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Society

How The Top Collector Of Chinese Art Evades Censors In New Hong Kong Museum

Swiss businessman Uli Sigg is the most important collector of Chinese contemporary art. In 2012, he gave away most of his collection to the M+ in Hong Kong. Now the museum has opened as the Communist Party is cracking down hard on freedom of expression. So how do you run a museum in the face of widespread censorship from Beijing?

''Rouge 1992'' by Li Shan at the M+ museum

Maximilian Kalkhof

The first test has been passed, Uli Sigg thinks. So far, everything has gone well. His new exhibition has opened, visitors like to come, and — this is the most important thing for the Swiss businessman — everything is on display. He has not had to take an exhibit off the list of works.

The M+ in Hong Kong is a new museum that wants to compete with the established ones. It wants to surpass the MoMa in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Sigg, a rather down-to-earth man, says: “There is no better museum in the whole world.” That is very much self-praise, since Sigg’s own collection is central to the museum.

The only problem is: great art is often political; it questions the rulers. Since the Chinese Communist Party has been cracking down on critics and freedom in Hong Kong, the metropolis is a bad place for politics and art. So how did the collection get there?

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