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Friday, 22 June 2018 06:42 am

Celebrants “incredulous” some still negative on same-sex marriage

Jun 23rd, 2017 | By | Category: Latest News, News

A “coven” of marriage celebrants are gobsmacked that people still have a problem with same-sex marriage, including some wedding venues.

Rachel Dudfield and her fellow celebrants are enjoying same-sex marriages which continue to attract overseas couples according to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures.

“I’m in a coven of celebrants on Facebook and there are about 40 of us.

“Out of the 300 in Wellington, about 40 of us have come together and about half a dozen of those are from around the country,” she says.

“We are all just incredulous that people in this day and age still hold any negativity towards same-sex.”

Since the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013, allowing couples of any gender to marry, more residents from overseas have come here to tie the knot.

Statistics New Zealand says half, up to 470, of the same-sex marriages and civil unions were overseas residents.

“Of opposite-sex couples travelling here to marry, 56 percent had one or both partners born in New Zealand, compared with 21 percent of same-sex couples,” the Marriages, Civil Unions and Divorces 2016 report says.

While same-sex marriage is legal in New Zealand, Dudfield knows some venues still ban the weddings.

For example, a venue in the South Island, where a well-known kiwi got married not long ago, only recently allowed gay marriages.

“They have a purpose built chapel, so not a religious building but designed to look like one,” she says.

“The grandmother who paid for that to be done she said no gay weddings are going to happen in there.”

She says there is a venue around Wellington that has been rumoured to be saying “no” to gay weddings.

“We’re trying to find out who that is, whilst being careful not to slander anyone.

“I’m pretty sure in another generation, in New Zealand, most of that negativity towards same-sex marriage will die out of old age,” she says.

Dudfield has married three same-sex couples, two of which were from Australia, and has three more booked.

“I’m in favour of marriage full stop.”

More than half of the overseas same-sex marriages in 2016 were Australian residents, and 17% were from China.

In 2013, 147 overseas couples came to New Zealand to marry, which rose to 390 the next year, in 2015 it was 432 and last year it was 471.

Statistics New Zealand says 20,235 marriages and civil unions were registered to resident couples, a slight 1% (290) increase from 2015.


The general marriage rate per thousand people was 10.9 in 2016, which is about a quarter of the 1971 figure when the rate reached 45.5.

2016 sees a 4% (up to 350) decrease in divorces compared to 2015.

Statistics New Zealand says more people are tending to get married later in life. The median age for men is 30.3 years and for women it is 29 years.

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