Love Is In The Air As NZ, Aussie Same-Sex Couples Tie The Knot

Category: Daily Promo / Aug 19, 2013 11:18AM EDT

A new law to legalize gay marriage went into force in New Zealand on Monday, bringing many couples from Australia to the country to tie the knot.

Same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Australia, so couples like Trent Kandler and Paul McCarthy had to travel to New Zealand to legally wed.

Kandler and McCarthy beat out 300 other couples who applied to win a contest by the tourism board, inviting a gay Australian couple to wed in New Zealand.

"We are both honored to have been able to come to a country that we respect and that respects us for who we are and respects everyone for who they are and, you know, we are going back to Australia and technically, yes, our marriage won’t be recognized but you know what, in the back of our heads we know that New Zealand believes in us and New Zealand is behind us all the way so that's what's really important," groom Trent Kandler said.

One couple even exchanged vows onboard an Air New Zealand flight from Queenstown to Auckland.

New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs late last week said roughly 1,000 marriage applications were downloaded in the week since same-sex applications became available, around three times the average amount.

The government of New Zealand passed the Marriage Amendment Act in April, which enables couples to marry regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Tourism New Zealand said that it had already seen a rise in interest among Australians to visit New Zealand since the marriage law was passed in April.

Video Credit: Reuters