A law legalizing gay marriage in New Zealand takes effect on
Lawmakers approved the law in May, making the island nation the
first in the Asia-Pacific region to approve such unions.
Labour MP Louisa Wall previously credited President Barack Obama's
endorsement of marriage equality for giving momentum to her bill.
New Zealand previously recognized gay and lesbian couples with
Among the first to marry will be Natasha Vitali and Melissa Ray,
the winners of a radio competition.
“It's huge. I mean, why shouldn't we be able to get married?
And the fact that it happened in our lifetime, a year after I
proposed, is perfect timing,” Vitali said during TV ONE's
Breakfast. “So big thanks to Louisa Wall and everyone that
supported the bill.”
The couple's all-expenses-paid wedding includes a ceremony at the
Auckland Unitarian Church in Ponsonby and a reception at the The
Cloud on Auckland's Viaduct.
Couples from neighboring Australia are also expected to travel
across the Tasman to tie the knot in New Zealand.
Paul McCarthy and Trent Kandler of Newcastle on Monday will become
the first Australians to take advantage of the law, according to
The couple, together 11 years, said that they understand that
their Kiwi marriage will be merely symbolic in Australia.