New Zealand Tourism and Economy Get Boost from Visiting Same-Sex Couples

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By Reissa Su | May 6, 2014 1:36 PM EST

The arrival of gay Australian couples planning to marry is expected in New Zealand since the country has become the 13th in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. According to statistics, about 40 per cent of gay marriages in New Zealand involved foreign visitors.

Reuters
Photo Credit: Reuters. A gay couple kisses after getting married during a symbolic group wedding on Valentine's Day in Lima February 14, 2012. REUTERS

Gay rights advocates in Australia have praised New Zealand for recognising gay marriage. Mark Proffit from Sydney's Rainbow Tourism said same sex couples are going to New Zealand to get married since it is considered illegal in Australia.

Mr Proffit said efforts to reform the marriage equality laws have been unsuccessful. Same-sex couples who can no longer wait for Australia to allow gay marriages are forced to cross the Tasman Sea where they can get married in peace.

The High Court of Australia has overturned ACT's legislation in December 2013 which allowed same sex marriages. The ACT Parliament had passed a same sex marriage bill in October which made it the first state to legalise gay marriage in Australia. However, the victory proved to be temporary as the federal government challenged the ACT's bill for being inconsistent with federal laws.

New Zealand MP Louisa Wall has previously urged Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reform the country's same-sex marriage laws. The Labour MP, who is a known gay politician, is New Zealand's former representative netball and rugby union player.  Wall has released a video challenging Mr Abbott to allow a free vote in reforming same-sex marriage.

Wall was the one who drafted the Marriage Amendment Bill in New Zealand which made it the 13th in the world to recognise same-sex marriage. New Zealand is the first country in the Asia-Pacific to allow gay marriage.

In April 2013, New Zealand MPs supported the bill via conscience votes with no instructions from their parties. Wall said the MPs were able to join the global conversation of marriage equality. She added that every member of New Zealand's parliament had exercised their conscience vote.

Tourism in New Zealand gets a boost with increasing numbers of same-sex marriages coming from other countries. Australian same-sex couples make up the majority of those who got married under the New Zealand law. Other couples visiting New Zealand to get married come from as far as Britain and Israel.

According to reports, the legalisation of gay marriage in the country is good for the New Zealand economy as couples enjoy their honeymoon and spend money in the Bay of Islands or South Island. 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Photo Credit: Reuters. A gay couple kisses after getting married during a symbolic group wedding on Valentine's Day in Lima February 14, 2012. REUTERS
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