Skip to main content

In New Zealand, first same-sex couples tie the knot

By Dana Ford, CNN
August 19, 2013 -- Updated 2110 GMT (0510 HKT)
Rachel Briscoe, left, and Jess Ivess from the Bay of Islands celebrate during the first same-sex marriage at the Rotorua Museum in Rotorua, New Zealand, on Monday, August 19 -- the first day such marriages were legal in New Zealand. Rachel Briscoe, left, and Jess Ivess from the Bay of Islands celebrate during the first same-sex marriage at the Rotorua Museum in Rotorua, New Zealand, on Monday, August 19 -- the first day such marriages were legal in New Zealand.
HIDE CAPTION
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two women wed on a flight from Queenstown to Auckland
  • Same-sex marriages became legal in New Zealand on Monday
  • Fourteen countries now allow same-sex couples to marry
  • New Zealand is the first to do so in the Asia Pacific region

(CNN) -- The poster at the end of the montage is written in the colorful, uneven handwriting of children, but its message is clear.

Three kids stand with the sign that reads, "Please marry our Mums."

The children are 9-year-old Javarn, 7-year-old Maycee and 6-year-old Mikaere, and their moms are Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau.

The women, who have been together for some 14 years, got married Monday -- the day same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand.

The couple exchanged vows aboard a flight from Queenstown to Auckland, the carrier Air New Zealand said on its Facebook page. The airline chose Bendall and Wanikau from entries that came from around New Zealand.

"Getting married on a plane ... Wow!!! Imagine that for news at school!" read other posters the children held up in the winning video entry.

New Zealand's parliament voted in April to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the first country in the Asia Pacific region to do so.

A double wedding was held Monday at the Rotorua Museum in the city of the same name.

"It has been a really positive celebration," said museum marketing manager Joanna Doherty, adding there were no protesters outside. "It was lovely."

About 90 invited guests and members of a radio station crew that put on a competition for the all-expenses-paid wedding were on hand as Rachel Briscoe and Jess Ivess and Richard Rawstorn and Richard Andrew exchanged vows.

The museum only this year began hosting weddings and other private functions.

"I think the museum is traditionally seen as old-fashioned ... but we just wanted to be seen as a place that welcomes everybody," Doherty told CNN. "It is everybody's history that gets told here."

Including New Zealand, 14 countries now allow same-sex marriage. Of those, nine are in Europe.

What you need to know about same-sex marriage in the U.S. and around the world

The Netherlands was the first, in 2001, and it was later joined by Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark and France. Argentina, Uruguay, Canada and South Africa are the non-European countries in the group.

Same-sex marriage is also legal in some parts of Brazil, Mexico and the United States.

CNN's Phil Gast and Jessica King contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT