Washington Blade
August 19, 2013

New Zealand has become the latest country to allow same-sex marriage.

Natasha Vitali and Melissa Ray, who won an all-expenses paid wedding through a local radio station, became the first same-sex couple in the South Pacific nation to legally marry when they exchanged vows at a church in Auckland, the country’s largest city, just before 9 a.m. local time (5 p.m. EST on Sunday) on August 19. “Modern Family” actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband, Justin Mikita, are among those who witnessed Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau exchange vows during a wedding that took place on an Air New Zealand flight from Queenstown to Auckland.

Tourism New Zealand sponsored the wedding of a gay Australian couple that took place in Wellington, the country’s capital.

“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,” Bendall, who has been with Wanikau for 13 years, said in an Air New Zealand press release.