A Wedding Far From ‘Plane’ – NZ Marriage Equality

Ryan Auberson-Walsh
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A triumphant change has swept across the land that brought us the spectacular scenery of the multi-million dollar worldwide hit trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

Just as Gollum once adequately pointed out how “precious” his golden ring was, now Kiwi same-sex couples have an equal privilege of using that famous line when talking about their wedding ring, and even better, their new spouse.

One second after midnight, clocking over to August 19 has earmarked a special day for gay and lesbian Kiwi couples. After a bill allowing marriage equality was passed by the New Zealand House of Representatives on April 17 of this year, the law has now come into effect, and hundreds of devoted partners are able to legally wed.

Let us all just be grateful that there weren’t any dickheads in parliament who insisted on yelling out that the bill “shall not pass” in a Gandalf-like manner.

In an act of celebration, the country’s national flag carrier, Air New Zealand, has provided a fully catered wedding service for Auckland-based couple Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau, who have been together almost 14 years.

nz marriage equality

First in the country to say “I do” in the skies when wed onboard a special Air New Zealand flight from Queenstown to Auckland, the couple were in the presence of friends and family, including their three children, Javarn, 9, Maycee, 7, and Mikaere, 6.

Modern Family actor and marriage equality campaigner, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, was also there to be a part of the couple’s meaningful ceremony, after recently marrying his long-term partner Justin Mikita.

nz marriage equality

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to celebrate this historic and joyous moment with Lynley and Ally. Marriage equality is something very dear to both Justin and me.”

The ceremony was followed by a surprise choir performing Pokarekare Ana, the same Maori love song heard in NZ’s parliament in April.

Lynley spoke of her excitement at being married, finally making her 13-year union official.

“To be married at 30,000 feet beneath strings of fairy lights with our children, friends and family as witnesses makes an already memorable day that much more special. It was surreal to have Jesse play a part in the ceremony too – we’re big fans of Modern Family!”

Ferguson and partner Mikita gave the couple’s children a bow tie each from their charity Tie the Knot, which was formed in September 2012 as a means of raising funds for the promotion of marriage equality.

NZ’s newly wedded couple jetted off at local time last night to Palm Springs on their honeymoon, courtesy of the pacific airline.

nz marriage equality

For same-sex couples across the ditch in Australia, Middle-earth’s new law has also placed a one up for the oceanic country on its bigger sister, who is yet to pass a bill in favour of marriage equality.

Australian residents have begun heading over to marry their partners and the local economy will reap the benefits that come with the increased spending.

The national director of Australian Marriage Equality has mentioned that almost one thousand Aussie same-sex couples intend to marry in NZ.

“The figure is high because Australian same-sex couples have been waiting for marriage equality in their own country for almost a decade now and some can’t wait any longer.”

An Air New Zealand statement released on July 17 called for a local couple “to make history with [the] first ever same sex marriage in New Zealand skies” as part of their Love is in the Air competition.

Lynley and Ally’s winning submission can be viewed here, and their wedding clip seen below.

Vada’s team wishes the couple a happy and healthy marriage together xx

About Ryan Auberson-Walsh

Ryan Auberson-Walsh is a sassy Sydneysider who enjoys cocktails and writing from opinion. A student at the University of Technology, Sydney, he was the 2013 editor-in-chief of annual Querelle, and has previously interned at SameSame.com.au and Australian Traveller. His work has also been published in Cream and Vertigo. @ryanaubiee on Twitter & Instagram.