Australia votes ‘Yes’ to same-sex marriage
Australia’s vote in favour of samesex marriage will have a ‘‘huge impact’’ on New Zealand’s thriving same-sex marriage industry, a long-time celebrant says.
Sheryl Mungal, who has married more than 50 same-gender couples in her more than 25 years in the business, said the results of the public referendum in Australia would affect ‘‘a lot’’ of people in the industry.
‘‘Why would they come to New Zealand to get married now unless they were wanting to get away?
‘‘It’s a shame for us in New Zealand but we had a good run and it had to happen. I am pleased for them.’’
Years of divisive public and political debate in Australia came to a head yesterday when 61.6 per cent of participants in the Malcolm
‘‘Why would they come to New Zealand to get married now unless they were wanting to get away?’’
Turnbull government’s postal survey said yes to marriage equality. The result paves the way for lawmakers across the ditch to join New Zealand and 23 other nations in legalising same-sex marriage. New Zealand made the change in 2013.
Mungal, who lives in Auckland and has specialised in same-sex weddings since 2013, expected most of the Australian same-sex couples who had booked her for wedding ceremonies over the coming seasons to cancel.
While she did get some bookings from couples in other countries that did not allow samesex marriages, such as Singapore, the vast majority were from Australia. ‘‘We do need the overseas couples. I personally have found that not that many New Zealanders are taking it up, for whatever reasons.’’
The wider New Zealand tourism industry would also be impacted as many couples who came here to marry brought family and friends with them and travelled around the country, she said.
Motueka-based celebrant Terri Everett agreed the referendum would ‘‘definitely’’ impact the local same-sex wedding industry.
She believed many couples would still choose to marry in New Zealand though because of its ‘‘warm and welcoming’’ approach to same-sex marriage.
‘‘The issue with Australia is that it still has a very strong negative feeling attached to gay marriage. If we work hard to be totally accepting then people are still going to come here.’’
Everett said she would now concentrate marketing her services to same-sex couples in Europe, Asia and North America.
Christchurch celebrant Tania Johnson Scott believed fewer same-sex Australian couples were likely to come to New Zealand to wed, but said the result of the Australian postal vote was ‘‘awesome’’.
‘‘Of course we’ve benefited from Australian couples coming here to wed but . . . we support and embrace the result. It’s been a long time coming.’’
While a ‘‘high percentage’’ of the same-sex couples she had married were Australian, she thought some would still choose to elope.
‘‘We’ve got some magic spots around the country for a wedding so there will be some who come over and make a trip of it.’’
A Tourism New Zealand spokesperson said New Zealand was recognised as a same-sex friendly country and ran a popular ‘‘100 per cent Pure Choice’’ campaign in Australia when same-sex marriage became legal here.
‘‘While Tourism New Zealand markets to the wedding and honeymoon sectors, it does not generally specifically target the gay and lesbian community. New Zealand is a great destination for a wedding, honeymoon or romantic getaway – for all travellers.’’
Sheryl Mungal, centre, says the same-sex debate in Australia is a sensitive issue, but one New Zealand businesses have been benefiting from to date.