The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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Marriage Amendment Act changes set for August

17 April 2013

The Department of Internal Affairs will have four months to implement changes stemming from the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, which enables couples to marry regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The new statutory definition of marriage in the Marriage Act defines marriage as "the union of 2 people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity".

The next step is for the Bill to receive Royal assent from the Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, following the completed third reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill tonight says Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery.

“The Department has a lot of work to do. We are confident everything will be ready for the day the new law takes effect which will be in August, no later than four months after Royal assent.

We have to:

  • amend the various forms and certificates used to collect, register and provide information under the Marriage Act 1955 and the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995;
  • alter the Department's computer systems to allow for the recording of same-sex marriages, including capturing the sex of the parties to the marriage;
  • provide information to the public and celebrants about the changes, for example on websites, brochures and other guidance material published by the Department; and
  • train staff who conduct registry office marriages and provide information to the public.”

On the day the law takes effect, new forms will be available for all couples who want to get married, including same sex couples, Mr Montgomery says.

“A couple would apply for a marriage licence using the new form to be available on the day the Act comes into force. Three days after the completed form is received by the Department, a marriage licence would be ready for collection and a marriage can take place.”

All couples getting married in New Zealand must follow the correct process, including using a licensed marriage celebrant or a Registrar of Marriages. The Department licenses marriage celebrants, registers marriages and produces marriage certificates.

For more information see: Marriage Amendment Act - Questions and Answers

Media Contact:

Michael Mead
Communications Account Manager, Service Delivery and Operations
The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua
Phone 64 4 382 3437; mobile 64 21 245 7451