Two heterosexual men from New Zealand have agreed to marry, in a move condemned by gay rights groups.
Travis McIntosh, 23, and Matt McCormick, 24, from Dunedin on South Island, plan to marry today (Friday September 12). They told the New Zealand Herald that they are brimming with “nervous excitement”, and have even written special wedding vows, the paper reports.
However, the marriage is to be staged in order to win a radio competition and scoop a trip to the Rugby World Cup in England next year. Sixty friends and family members have been invited to the legally valid ceremony in Auckland.
Mr McCormick insisted that the ceremony was not intended to trivialise marriage and said they did not wish to offend.
“We are not here to insult anyone,” he declared. “We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path. It’s just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup.”
Their vows will refer to the pair’s long-standing friendship – they met as six year-olds – and their days spend playing rugby at school, the paper reported. However, they had not made a decision on who would walk down the aisle at that point or on whether or not to use hyphenated surnames.
But gay rights groups have attacked the plans. Neill Ballantyne is ‘Queer Support Co-ordinator’ for the Otago University Students’ Association, in the Dunedin region. The friend’s plans to marry were an “insult” to gay people, he claimed.
“Something like this trivialises what we fought for.”
The radio competition promoted the idea of a marriage between men as “as something outrageous that you’d never consider”, he claimed.
His sentiments were echoed by Joseph Habgood of LegaliseLove Aotearoa Wellington. He said:
“The point of this competition is that men marrying each other is still something they think is worth having a laugh at …”
Photo of St Paul’s Cathedral and town hall in Dunedin by huhnbeauftragte via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence