Story: Gay men’s lives

Civil union parade

Civil union parade

Before 2013 only a man and a woman were able to marry under New Zealand law. The Civil Union Act 2004 made it possible for same-sex (and heterosexual) couples to undergo a civil union, giving them almost the same rights as a married couple. Among the first couples to enter a civil union were Wellingtonians John Jolliff and Des Smith, on 1 May 2005. Here the pair lead a rainbow parade to their reception – rainbows are a gay symbol. Same-sex marriage was legalised in August 2013.

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Photograph by Ross Setford

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How to cite this page:

Chris Brickell, 'Gay men’s lives - Gay activism and law reform', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 May 2022)

Story by Chris Brickell, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 11 May 2018