The Bittersweet Reason Same-Sex Couples Are Vacationing In New Zealand

Because of marriage inequality, couples from all over the world are taking their business to New Zealand.

Emma (left) and Tallula (right) at their New Zealand ceremony. Credit: Troy Tanner/Vice

New Zealand has been hailed for their progressive Marriage Amendment Act in 2013, which allows same-sex couples to legally marry. Now the country is becoming a symbol of something else— inequality around the world.

Since the Act was implemented, 2,655 same-sex marriages have taken place in New Zealand. A staggering 40% of the couples married were foreigners. Most the couples are coming across the sea from Australia, where same-sex marriage is still banned, even though polls found that two thirds of Australians are in support of the unions.

One of these couples was Lindsay Barling and his partner, Bruce. The pair spent $15,400 on their New Zealand wedding. Barling, a banking professional, says Australia’s position is senseless, and the nation would benefit if couples weren’t forced to take their money overseas.

Barling points out that same-sex couples usually have higher disposable incomes and fewer dependents. He told Vice in an interview, ”We married for love, to celebrate our love with friends and family, and to have our love and commitment acknowledged. For now, we have to settle for two out of three.”

Bruce (left) and Lindsay (right) with celebrant Laura Giddey. Credit: Vice

Tallula Davis and her partner, Emma, said they definitely would have married in Australia if it were legal, lamenting about the distance, saying there is ”always a bit of regret that we didn’t get to celebrate with our closest friends and family.” They point that, even though it’s a joy to have been married, their union still isn’t recognized by their home country.

“Marriage inequality is something that really affects people, both personally and practically—and even for a couple who are ‘married’,” says Davis. Laura Giddey, a member of the Glitter Squad Celebrants, officiated the wedding of Tallula and Emma.

The Glitter Squad works to advocate LGBTQI rights by offering wedding services to same-sex couples. “We firmly believe that marriage is between two consenting adults, and any other factor is not important.” stated Giddey.

Giddey added that the Glitter Squad had also been contacted by foreign heterosexual couples, who are marrying in New Zealand out of solidarity, since they are opposed to their home country’s marriage policies.

“Being an ally to the LGBTQI community is more than marrying gay couples—it shows to all couples that we are accepting and nonjudgmental of all people.” said Giddey.

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