Very public marriage possible

17:00, Jul 22 2013
McColm Cowden, left, and Keith Brown
ON EDGE: McColm Cowden, left, and Keith Brown are engaged and hope to be one of the first same-sex couples to get married under New Zealand law.

A same-sex couple from Birkenhead could be one of the first to get married under the new marriage equality law.

Keith Brown, 22, and McColm Cowden, 25, say "sparks flew" when they first met and they have now been engaged two years.

McColm popped the question outside an elevator in their former central Auckland apartment building.

"It wasn't the most romantic thing but it was really sweet," Keith says.

The couple have been together four years and "have gone through everything", McColm says.

Now they face sharing one of the most intimate moments of their lives with all of New Zealand.


Radio station The Edge is hosting one gay and one lesbian ceremony at Rotorua Museum on the morning the Marriage Amendment Bill comes into law on August 19. Labour MP Louisa Wall's bill was passed in April, 77 votes to 44. Keith says they planned to have a civil union but are excited they can experience marriage in New Zealand.

If they win, the wedding will be filmed for television and will be featured in a magazine.

"We are sharing this big moment with all of New Zealand," AUT student Keith says.

"You just know when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone."

McColm says he is a bit nervous about how many people will be watching.

"I haven't thought about it too much. I don't know what I'll do, maybe have a couple of drinks beforehand," he said.

But if they end up not winning they will save up and get married hopefully next January, McColm says.

He says it would be a privilege to be one of the first same-sex couples married.

The winner is revealed on July 29. Text COUPLE1 to 3343 or visit to vote for Keith and McColm.

North Shore Times