Australia's gay-marriage bill could hurt NZ's wedding industry

Revellers were out in force in Australia, after marriage equality received overwhelming public support on Wednesday.

Overnight, a bill was introduced to the Australian parliament allowing same-sex marriage, and it could be law within three weeks.

But for New Zealand, it'll come at a cost.

About half of the same-sex marriages and civil unions here last year involved foreign couples - Australians made up more than half of them.

Nearly 300 Australian same-sex couples crossed the Tasman to get married in New Zealand in 2016, and Kiri and Josephine Greig-Roberts were among them.

"Australia is ready, the politicians need to do their job and catch up with the rest of the world," says Josephine.

While Kiri and Josephine say they had an "intimate" ceremony, it still cost about $7000.

Former Tourism Minister Paula Bennett says wedding parties make "great tourists".

"They're here to spend some money and have a bit of excitement, usually."

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he's now turning his attention to changing his country's law.

"We're getting onto the job immediately," he says.

Legislation has already been introduced to Parliament, but still faces opposition from Conservative members, who want to give businesses and celebrants the right to say "I don't" to same-sex weddings.

"People will be voting according to their conscience, but believe me, it'll get done," Mr Turnbull says.

The rush of new same-sex weddings in Australia is estimated to be worth a billion dollars a year.

"In about six months to a year, we'll see another huge spike in weddings and these are going to be the really big parties," says marriage celebrant Stephen Lee.

But while New Zealanders are glad to see Australia finally making steps forward towards marriage equality, their LGBT community's gain could be our financial loss.


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