23 Apr 2013

Marriage equality should be discussed regionally, says Tonga MP

9:40 pm on 23 April 2013

A Tonga MP says there needs to be a conversation about marriage equality in the region.

Last week, a bill to legalise same-sex marriage passed its third and final reading in New Zealand's Parliament.

Several Pacific leaders have ruled out passing similar laws.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua says it's difficult to say whether it will happen in Tonga, but it's an important issue.

"Coming from the islands, we are all just small parts of a bigger picture of the world, and we have to start thinking seriously and deeply, whether this is something our people and our society would like to address, talk about. I think the most important thing is that we have to start a conversation. Talanoa, tell stories, whether we agree or disagree is a completely different matter."

Sitiveni Halapua says it is no surprise New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to adopt marriage equality, given it gave women the right to vote first.