The search is finally over and the winners were announced just recently. Trent Kandler and Paul McCarthy, from Speers Point, NSW, won Tourism NZ’s competition and will be wed at Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand) in Wellington on August 19th. This will be the first day that the Marriage Amendment Act will come into effect.

The couple have been together for eleven years, having met through mutual friends before beginning to date after finding each other on a dating site.

After the Marriage Amendment Act was approved it became apparent that New Zealand was set to become a wedding destination for gay couples in Australia. The competition run by Tourism NZ is intended to highlight how easy it will be for couples in Australia to travel in order to get married.

Trent and Paul had previously discussed the idea of getting married in Canada four years ago, but decided against it, as their families wouldn’t be able to join them. Jumping over to New Zealand is a much more manageable trip however, and when the legislation was approved they began discussing it again.

The couple, though thrilled about winning the competition, are disappointed that the Australian government has not yet passed a Marriage Amendment Act.

“It’s that recognition by the government that we are the same,” Mr McCarthy said. “We are Australian citizens. We have the same rights as every other citizen.

“I love my country. I sing its praises everywhere I go. Yet my country treats me second rate.”

With gay marriage bills also passing in parts of the USA and the United Kingdom, Australia is starting to look like the odd one out. If Queen Lizzie can give same-sex marriage a big thumbs up, then surely Australia can do the same.

Image: Getty