Tasman trip for Speers Point gay couple

MONDAY is the big day for Speers Point’s Trent Kandler and Paul McCarthy, who will be among the first same-sex couples to marry in New Zealand.
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SET FOR VOWS: Trent Kandler, left, and Paul McCarthy. Picture: Dominion Post

Same-sex marriage becomes legal next week, and Mr Kandler, a teacher, and Mr McCarthy, a vet, will wed at Te Papa national museum in Wellington from 9am.

It will be one of the country’s first gay marriages since the Marriage Amendment Bill passed.

Thirty-one same-sex couples, including six from Wellington, 14 from Auckland, one in Manukau, six in Christchurch and four in Rotorua, have told Births, Deaths and Marriages they intend to wed on Monday.

Mr Kandler and Mr McCarthy’s whirlwind wedding is the result of a last-minute entry into a tourism campaign, which offered an all-expenses paid trip for a same-sex couple to the Kiwi capital.

“We’re doing it to show our love for each other and we’re doing it really because we don’t have the opportunity back home, not even for a civil union,” Mr McCarthy said.

However, the flow of same-sex tourism from across the ditch may be brief, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announcing this week that he was throwing his support behind marriage equality.

By then, Mr Kandler and Mr McCarthy, who got engaged two years ago, were already about to wing their way to New Zealand.

They felt sure many other Australians would follow their footsteps down the aisle, regardless of law changes at home.

They will proudly don pink ties to match their bridesmaids’ dresses on the special day, Mr McCarthy said.

A threefold leap in the number of marriage licence application forms downloaded overseas in just four days has taken New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs staff by surprise.

A total of 172 application forms had been downloaded by people from all over the globe between Monday and Thursday this week, including 19 for civil unions.

Almost half came from Australia.

Births Deaths and Marriages registrar-general Jeff Montgomery said registrars reported that same-sex couples had lined up outside registry offices nationwide yesterday to pick up marriage licences.

“They were really excited, congratulating each other,” he said.

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