Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Malta Today: Same-sex couples say ‘I do’ in New Zealand

New Zealand is the first Asia-Pacific country to legalise gay marriage.
Monday 19 August 2013 - 09:35

File photo

Dozens of same-sex couples tied the knot in New Zealand after an amendment to the Marriage Act - passed by parliament in April - came into effect on Monday.

New Zealand has now become the first Asia-Pacific country, and only the 14th in the world, to legalise gay marriage.

Vows were exchanged in venues ranging from an airliner cruising at 30,000 feet (9,150 metres) to a historic bath house as gay men and women took advantage of the law change.

The Campaign For Marriage Equality said it ended an historical injustice and meant the love of all people was recognised as equal in the eyes of the law.

"A massive congratulations to the happy couples tying the knot today. Marriage equality has finally arrived in New Zealand," spokesman Conrad Reyners said.

Two radio stations competed to host the first same-sex wedding, with the ceremonies broadcast live during their breakfast programmes.

In reality, the nuptials took place around the same time, at 8.30 am Monday (2030 GMT Sunday), after the government offices that issue marriage licences had opened.

Air New Zealand staged a special flight from Queenstown to Auckland where Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau tied the knot in the air after 14 years together, with American gay rights campaigner and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson from the hit comedy "Modern Family" in attendance.

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