LGBT couples flock to New Zealand to marry

Wellington, Aug 18 :  New Zealand’s marriage equality law is attracting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples from all over the world who want to get married without any hindrance from society. Figures released by the registrar-general of births, deaths and marriages Monday showed 532 of the 926 same-sex couples who wed under the Marriage Amendment Act were from New Zealand, while the rest were foreign couples, Xinhua reported.

Since the law was implemented Aug 19 last year, 520 female couples got married, including 118 from Australia, 11 from China, nine from Singapore and seven from Britain. In the same period, 406 male couples tied the knot, including 120 from Australia, 17 from China, six from Thailand and six from Britain.

“We are seeing continued national and international interest by same sex couples in getting married in New Zealand. Almost 400 overseas couples have come here to get married, which is great for our tourism industry,” registrar-general Jeff Montgomery said. New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region and the 13th in the world to allow same-sex marriages when it passed the Marriage Amendment Act last year.

The Act defines marriage as “the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity”. As of June 28, 2014, 16 countries — Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay — have allowed same-sex marriages.