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In New Zealand, first same-sex couples tie the knot

By Dana Ford, CNN
updated 5:10 PM EDT, Mon August 19, 2013
Rachel Briscoe, left, and Jess Ivess from the Bay of Islands celebrate during the first same-sex marriage at the Rotorua Museum in Rotorua, New Zealand, on Monday, August 19 -- the first day such marriages were legal in New Zealand. Rachel Briscoe, left, and Jess Ivess from the Bay of Islands celebrate during the first same-sex marriage at the Rotorua Museum in Rotorua, New Zealand, on Monday, August 19 -- the first day such marriages were legal in New Zealand.
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First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
First same-sex weddings in New Zealand
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two women wed on a flight from Queenstown to Auckland
  • Same-sex marriages became legal in New Zealand on Monday
  • Fourteen countries now allow same-sex couples to marry
  • New Zealand is the first to do so in the Asia Pacific region

(CNN) -- The poster at the end of the montage is written in the colorful, uneven handwriting of children, but its message is clear.

Three kids stand with the sign that reads, "Please marry our Mums."

The children are 9-year-old Javarn, 7-year-old Maycee and 6-year-old Mikaere, and their moms are Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau.

The women, who have been together for some 14 years, got married Monday -- the day same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand.

The couple exchanged vows aboard a flight from Queenstown to Auckland, the carrier Air New Zealand said on its Facebook page. The airline chose Bendall and Wanikau from entries that came from around New Zealand.

"Getting married on a plane ... Wow!!! Imagine that for news at school!" read other posters the children held up in the winning video entry.

New Zealand's parliament voted in April to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the first country in the Asia Pacific region to do so.

A double wedding was held Monday at the Rotorua Museum in the city of the same name.

"It has been a really positive celebration," said museum marketing manager Joanna Doherty, adding there were no protesters outside. "It was lovely."

About 90 invited guests and members of a radio station crew that put on a competition for the all-expenses-paid wedding were on hand as Rachel Briscoe and Jess Ivess and Richard Rawstorn and Richard Andrew exchanged vows.

The museum only this year began hosting weddings and other private functions.

"I think the museum is traditionally seen as old-fashioned ... but we just wanted to be seen as a place that welcomes everybody," Doherty told CNN. "It is everybody's history that gets told here."

Including New Zealand, 14 countries now allow same-sex marriage. Of those, nine are in Europe.

What you need to know about same-sex marriage in the U.S. and around the world

The Netherlands was the first, in 2001, and it was later joined by Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark and France. Argentina, Uruguay, Canada and South Africa are the non-European countries in the group.

Same-sex marriage is also legal in some parts of Brazil, Mexico and the United States.

CNN's Phil Gast and Jessica King contributed to this report.

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