New Zealand’s parliament has taken the first step in passing legislation to legalise same-sex marriage, a move inspired by President Obama’s stance on the issue.

According to The Washington Post, Obama’s announcement in May that he was personally in favour of marriage equality led New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to say that he was also “not personally opposed” to the idea.

This in turn motivated openly-lesbian opposition MP Louisa Wall to put forward a bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

“If I’m really honest, I think the catalyst was around Obama’s announcement, and then obviously our prime minister came out very early in support…” Wall told The Associated Press. “The timing was right.”

On Wednesday, the bill passed its first of three votes in parliament by a large majority. By all indications the bill is likely to overcome its remaining hurdles and become law.

Polls indicate that around two-thirds of New Zealanders support gay marriage.

If the bill is passed, New Zealand will become the 12th country in the world to legalise gay and lesbian marriages.

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