Happy gay-marriage anniversary

By Nicholas Jones, Ben Irwin

Campaigner behind bill hopes same-sex wedding trend continues.

Melissa Ray (left) and Tash Vitali say being married has not changed their life much although they are making plans for the future. Photo / Greg Bowker
Melissa Ray (left) and Tash Vitali say being married has not changed their life much although they are making plans for the future. Photo / Greg Bowker

It's three months since Melissa Ray and Tash Vitali got married - and the same-sex couple couldn't be happier.

The couple are among more than 100 who have married since the Marriage Equity bill was passed in August, and one of only a handful who married on the first day it became legal.

While the law change was great, Mrs Vitali admits married life has not involved any big change.

"We had our routine together, and our social life," said the 37-year-old account manager.

"I guess it just put a stamp on it, and made it concrete. It's just really nice, that's all."

"We are making plans for the future, we're looking at buying a house, probably next year."

Mrs Vitali will be a bridesmaid at a same-sex wedding on Saturday. She said the law change meant a great deal, and predictions of resulting social chaos from opponents had come to nothing.

"We haven't been plagued by locusts and boils ... we are still fine and everything is ticking along as usual."

Provisional Statistics New Zealand figures show 117 same-sex couples, 61 of which were female, have tied the knot since August 19.

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson said 47 of the marriages were couples who transferred their civil union to marriage.

"The information also shows one third of same-sex marriages were to overseas residents, compared with 10 per cent of opposite-sex marriages," said Mr Williamson.

The promotor of the same-sex wedding law, Labour MP Louisa Wall said she was pleased with the uptake of same-sex marriage and hoped the trend would continue.

The Manurewa MP said it was great so many same-sex couples were choosing marriage.

"I'm pleased that having created the opportunity [for marriage] that so many people are taking it."

Ms Wall said the high number of foreign same-sex couples marrying in New Zealand was something she had underestimated.

Meanwhile, the wedding-planning industry has been quick to offer its services to same-sex couples.

On Sunday the Ellerslie Events Centre will host the first Gay Wedding Show.

The event is described as a day "to support equality throughout the wedding market, creating an experience for anyone and everyone who is getting married."

Ms Wall said it was great the wedding industry was getting behind same-sex marriage.

Wedding celebrant Michael Brodie had conducted two same-sex marriages and had more planned for next year.

Mr Brodie said same-sex marriages had provided an added boost to his business.

However, he said it was too early to tell if their popularity would last.

Civil unions were also popular when they were legalised, but popularity waned, said Mr Brodie.

Since same-sex marriage was legalised, 33 civil unions were registered, down from 53 in the same quarter a year ago.

- NZ Herald

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