Excitement is building in the gay and lesbian community as
legislation allowing same sex marriage comes into effect
One of the first couples to take advantage of the Marriage
(Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, which passed into
law in April, are Tash Vitali and Melissa Ray who will wed at
8am in the Unitarian Church in Auckland, as part of a ZM
radio station competition.
Thirty-one same sex couples from Auckland, Manukau,
Wellington, Christchurch and Rotorua have told Births, Deaths
and Marriages they intend to get married tomorrow.
The legislation was a "symbolic" step towards equality for
all LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) people, Rainbow
Wellington secretary Tony Reed said.
"The act is actually removing a discrimination that was there
... before we couldn't marry, but now we can."
While Mr Reed did not have any ceremonies lined up to go to,
he said John Joliff and Des Smith, the first couple to
register for a civil union after the law was changed in 2005,
were planning to convert their union to a marriage.
There had been a lot of interest from people overseas
downloading Internal Affairs' marriage certificates, Mr Reed
"Including apparently from Moscow, and you certainly can't
get married there at the moment."
Others planning to tie the knot tomorrow are Richard Rawstorn
and Richard Andrew from Christchurch, and Jess Ives and
Rachel Briscoe from the Bay of Islands who will be married
together on The Edge Breakfast show.
Ms Briscoe said she was "excited and nervous" about her big
"With family from the UK attending and all that media, it
will be high stress, but fun."
Christchurch celebrant Julie Lassen said there was no
shortage of celebrants - at least 400 in New Zealand were
happy to officiate at same-sex weddings.
But some churches were split between parishes on the issue,
and the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference was among
many groups opposed to the change.
Same-sex marriage opponent and national director of lobby
group Family First NZ, Bob McCoskrie, said in passing the
bill into law, politicians had committed an "arrogant act of
cultural vandalism with no clear public mandate".
"Marriage will always maintain its cultural, natural and
historical definition of the lifetime commitment of one man
"Social engineers including politicians and activists are
expecting marriage supporters to drop their deeply held
convictions because of the misguided decisions of
politicians," Mr McCoskrie said.