Marriage Surpasses Civil Unions In New Zealand

Tommy Haas holds a koalaYou will no doubt be shocked to hear that when couples have the choice of getting married or civil-unioned, they’ll opt for marriage.

That’s the finding in New Zealand, which granted marriage equality this summer. In the first month, ten times more couples married than got a civil union (33 versus 355).

That trend has since held steady. Only eight couples went for civil unions in December, compared to 23 last year. That’s the lowest point yet for civil unions, so we wouldn’t be surprised if eventually they went away altogether and were converted into plain old marriages.

New Zealand has about 4.4 million residents, about the same as Kentucky. But the country has seen a massive influx of Australian tourists seeking to wed. One third of NZ’s marriages in the past year were to Australian couples. (Marriage equality is still banned on the prison island.)

Public opinion in the country has generally been strongly in favor of the freedom to marry. A slew of polls in 2012 show support leading by 15 to 20 points. Meanwhile, anti-equality activists have waned.

Strangely, though, the “Protect Marriage News Zealand” campaign recently relaunched. They’re building their mailing list with a “petition” — really just a way to gather email addresses — and a handful of blog posts about the importance of marriage and pamphlets available for download. Pamphlets!

You may be wondering why this post includes a photograph of German tennis player Tommy Haas holding a koala on a balcony in Australia. To which we say, shhhh, just enjoy the photo.