Same-sex marriage a 'milestone'

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 11:51 20/08/2013

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An Invercargill lesbian says the Marriage Amendment Act allowing same-sex marriage is a human rights milestone.

Southland Gay and Lesbian Support Group member Dan Liu, formerly of China, said the bill was about the legal recognition and having the choice to get married like anyone else.

The Marriage Amendment Act came into effect yesterday, making New Zealand the 15th country where same-sex couples can legally get married.

The new statutory definition of marriage defines marriage as "the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity".

Ms Liu said she was "really happy" the bill had passed.

For children growing up the amendment was a "huge thing" in terms of the message from central government, she said.

"We recognise you. We value you."

To some of the negative backlash across the country, Ms Liu said same-sex couples were not hurting anybody but there were still some closed minds.

"The people who are getting married, that's their relationship. It's not affecting other people . . . it's about human rights."

Births, Deaths and Marriages registrar-general Jeff Montgomery said nine same-sex couples across the country had registry weddings yesterday.

Overall, from the main centres, Births, Deaths and Marriages had received 31 notices of intended marriage forms.

There had been 977 marriage forms downloaded from the website during the week, three times as many as normal, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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