Great day to be gay

Same-sex marriage is legal tomorrow, and 31 couples are poised to wed.

Melissa Ray (left) and Natasha Vitali are taking dance lessons from Candy Lane (right) for their big day. Photo / Doug Sherring
Melissa Ray (left) and Natasha Vitali are taking dance lessons from Candy Lane (right) for their big day. Photo / Doug Sherring

Cakes are frosted, flowers cut and dance moves perfected for the 31 couples planning to tie the knot tomorrow, the day same-sex marriage becomes legal.

Tash Vitali and Melissa Ray have been having rumba lessons with celebrity dance instructor Candy Lane this week.

The pair will wed at 8am in the Unitarian Church in Auckland, as part of a ZM radio station competition. They expect to dance to Mariah Carey's Beautiful before guests join in at The Cloud.

Vitali and Ray will also take a helicopter to Waiheke Island and Karekare on the West Coast after the noon reception.

And the party will continue into the night for the newly-weds and their guests as a Britomart bar has been hired from midday Monday to 2am Tuesday.

Thirty-one same sex couples from main centres intend to marry tomorrow, says the Department of Internal Affairs, and 977 marriage forms were downloaded this week, three times as many as usual.

Outside New Zealand, most interest came from Australia, the US, Britain and China. Other inquiries came from Singapore, Malaysia, Guyana and Belgium.

Australian couple Paul McCarthy and Trent Kandler will say "I do" at Te Papa in Wellington in a ceremony sponsored by Tourism NZ.

Aucklanders Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau will marry on a plane between Queenstown and Auckland, sponsored by Air New Zealand, with Jesse Tyler Ferguson from the US sitcom Modern Family as a guest.

The Edge will marry two couples, one male and one female, on Monday morning, and registry offices in main centres are opening early at 8.30am.

Richard Rawstorn and Richard Andrew from Christchurch, and Jess Ives and Rachel Briscoe from the Bay of Islands, will be married at the Rotorua Museum in a ceremony being broadcast on The Edge.

Hawke's Bay wedding celebrant Di Petersen said she'd had enquiries from as far away as Brazil.

Some churches are split between parishes on the issue and the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference was among many groups opposed to the change.

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.

Bob McCroskie, from Family First, said lawmakers had "committed an arrogant act of cultural vandalism" by legalising same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, three leading Kiwi singers are voicing their support for gay marriage with a new song.

Hollie Smith, Anika Moa and Boh Runga have released a single Why Don't We to celebrate.

"Allowing people to love who they want is a fundamental human right," Smith said.

- Herald on Sunday

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