Aus­tralia votes ‘Yes’ to same-sex mar­riage

The Press - - Front Page - LORNA THORNBER

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?’’

Sh­eryl Mun­gal

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.