South Auckland couple Alburta Gibson and Tina Pitman’s civil union took place last weekend. Their relationship started 6 years ago.
1000 New Zealand couples have become civil union partners since April 2005. One in five of the 1000 civil unions have been between a man and a woman, and more lesbian than gay couples have had a civil union. Around 45, 000 marriages have been registered in the same period.
The Civil Union Act came into effect on 26 April 2005.
"From that date couples could apply for a civil union licence and access civil union services," says Tim Barnett.
"The civil union legislation has ensured couples such as Alburta and Tina can formalise their relationship in a legal manner.
"This is a great option for two people who cannot or choose not to marry. It provides the same legal rights as a marriage, and is the most secure and straightforward way to guard the rights of each person involved. And of course it is a great reason for a celebration!
Tim Barnett has a message for MPs such as John Key and Bill English who opposed the introduction of civil unions:
"This law recognised the reality of New Zealand relationships. It was opposed in raw and prejudiced ways. It has turned out to be a comprehensive success."
Information about civil union services is available through the Department’s website www.bdm.govt.nz or by calling Freephone number 0800 22 52 52. The Department of Internal Affairs appoints and registers civil union celebrants, provision of registry services and issuing of licences and services. People can search for a civil union or marriage celebrant in their area by accessing the Department’s website.