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Tourism NZ searches for Aussie gay couple to wed

June 25, 2013 DESTINATION, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59New Zealand’s latest tourism campaign aims to fly two Australians across the Tasman to become the first same-sex couple to marry under the country’s new marriage equality laws, which take force in August.

In April, New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region (and the 13th in the world) to legalise same-sex marriage.

scenic-hotel-franz-josef

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

At the time, Tourism New Zealand spokesman Justin Watson told Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper that while plans were underway to push New Zealand as a “romance” destination, there was no plan to target the gay and lesbian community specifically.

That changed quickly, with Tim Burgess, general manager of Tourism New Zealand’s Australian operations, saying yesterday: “We are excited to be making history and working with one lucky same-sex couple to become the very first from Australia to be married here in New Zealand”.

Curiously, civil union between same-sex couples is nothing new in New Zealand. It has been legal there for eight years, since 26 April 2005.

A few weeks ago, a group of Australian travel agents touring New Zealand encountered a same-sex wedding. The agents stayed at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand’s South Island on a Saturday night, as part of Tourism New Zealand’s Mega Famil. A wedding reception was in full swing, and it happened to be a same-sex couple.

The prize in Tourism New Zealand’s new same-sex wedding promotion includes return flights from Australia, accommodation, a special wedding ceremony and reception, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Details of the wedding location will be disclosed in July when the winning couple is announced. The promotion is being conducted in conjunction with Australian gay and lesbian newspaper Star Observer, with applicants invited to enter via the Star Observer’s Facebook page.

New Zealand’s new law will allow gay couples to jointly adopt children for the first time.

The winners of the Tourism NZ promotion will face the same snag as any other same-sex couple flying from Australia to New Zealand to wed – their marriage will not be recognised under Australian law when they return home.

Written by : Peter Needham

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