Many overseas same-sex couples say 'I do' here

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 05:00 19/08/2014

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Almost 1000 same-sex couples have tied the knot in this country since the law was changed a year ago.

Parliament voted 77 to 44 in favour of legalising same-sex marriage on August 17 last year after the change was proposed by Labour MP Louisa Wall. The new law took effect two days later.

Since then, 926 same-sex couples have married, according to figures from the Department of Internal Affairs. A little over half of those (532) were Kiwis, while a quarter (237) were Australian.

New South Wales couple Paul McCarthy and Trent Kandler made history as the first Australian same-sex couple to wed in this country when they won a competition to get married at Te Papa in Wellington.

They have returned to the capital today to celebrate their first anniversary. "I remember walking through the city on our way to the reception and having complete strangers cheer us and come up and wish us well. A whole table of people at an outdoor cafe clapped us," McCarthy said.

"It was abundantly clear that the people of Wellington believed in our right to be wed and that is an affirmation that will always be with us."

Some 120 same-sex marriages have occurred in Wellington since the law change, with at least 29 of those being Australian couples.

Civil unions remain an option for same-sex couples but the number of those has dropped to 20 per cent of what it was before the law change.

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