Marriage Arrives in New Zealand

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In New Zealand, same sex couples around the country are preparing to tie the knot.

Tomorrow is the first day gay and lesbian couples can legally marry in New Zealand, and it appears that some couples are planning to walk down the aisle as soon as possible.

Jeff Montgomery from Births, Deaths and Marriages said today that he knows of at least nine couples who will marry today.

But he expected the actual number to be higher, once all the information from the registry offices is collated.

This week, 977 marriage forms were downloaded from the DIA website - three times as many as usual.

Couples wanting to change their civil union to a marriage downloaded 125 of those forms, and 156 of them were downloaded by couples applying from overseas.

The rest - nearly 700 - were couples planning to be in the country three days prior to their wedding.

The Department of Internal Affairs said that it will be issuing 31 marriage licences in Auckland, Christchurch and Rotorua.

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act now defines marriage as "the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity".

(tvnz)

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