In Australia, same-sex marriage is not yet legal. This did not stop Trent Kandler and Paul McCarthy from getting married 1,370 miles away from Australia, at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, in Wellington.
Effective Monday, gay marriage is now legal in New Zealand. The bill was passed in April with a four-month waiting period before it would go into effect.
The happy couple, wearing matching suits and pink ties, was the first Australian gay couple to be wed in New Zealand. At least 31 same-sex couples were married in New Zealand on Monday. This is the 13th country in the world that allows same-sex marriages. Since this law came into force, 300 couples in Australia applied to get married.
Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikay from New Zealand, were one of the couples of the same-sex to say “I do” on Monday, 30,000 feet in the air. They exchanged vows while beneath the fairy lights, with family and friends looking on as witnesses. They were leaving Queenstown, on their way to Auckland.
Over 1,000 marriage applications were downloaded since the Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand, made the forms available. It is said that roughly about 170 came from overseas, mostly from Australia, Russia, U.S and Hong Kong.
Same-sex couples from other countries who marry in New Zealand, know that when they return home, their union will not be recognized.
“Being able to marry here as an equal citizen, even though we’re not citizens of this country, means we’re being viewed as equal – and that’s all we really want.”
New Zealand is a country of 4.4 million people, most of whom are of British heritage and Christian. In April, the government passed the Marriage Amendment Act that makes it possible for couples to get married, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender is.
Julia Gillard, the former Australian Prime Minister, did not approve of gay marriages, but the new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is supporting them fully. If he wins the election in September, a vote will be held by the parliament regarding legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia, but the proposal will most likely be rejected.
Written By: Landi Bezuidenhout