Same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand on 19 August 2013. A bill for legalisation was passed by the New Zealand House of Representatives on 17 April 2013 by 77 votes to 44 and received Royal Assent on 19 April 2013. It entered into force four months after assent, to allow time for the Department of Internal Affairs to make the necessary changes for marriage licensing and related documentation. New Zealand is the first country in Oceania, the fourth in the Southern Hemisphere, and the fifteenth overall to allow same-sex couples to marry.
The Parliament of New Zealand can enact marriage laws only in regard to New Zealand proper and the Ross Dependency (Antarctica). The three other territories making up the Realm of New Zealand – the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau – do not perform or recognise same-sex marriage.
In the year after 19 August 2013 (when the law became operational), 926 same-sex marriages were registered in New Zealand, of which 520 were between female couples and 406 were between male couples. 532 marriages (57.5%) were between New Zealand citizens, and 237 marriages (25.6%) were between Australian citizens.
In the year to 30 September 2014, 3.9% of marriages registered in New Zealand were same-sex. 13.6% of marriages between overseas couples were same-sex marriages, compared to 2.5% of marriages between New Zealanders. The total number of same-sex marriages registered in New Zealand in 2014 was 486, compared to 19,639 opposite-sex marriages. The number of civil unions registered in 2014 fell dramatically, with 19 civil unions of same-sex couples being registered, as opposed to 121 in 2013.
Many couples meet through New Zealand online gay dating.