Airforce marriage shows Defence Force’s support for LGBTI equality

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The New Zealand Defence Force recently hosted its first same-sex wedding.

The New Zealand Herald reported that Overwatch, a Defence Force LGBTI support group, announced the marriage of its former chairman Squadron Leader Stu Pearce and his partner David Fenwick.

According to the report, the ceremony took place on Saturday at the airforce’s Ohakea base chapel, with the reception being held at the base officers’ mess.

The couple are both affiliated with the airforce – Pearce is currently serving on 3 Squadron as the Iroquois Section Commander, the Herald reported. Fenwick served in the RAF until 2006, and between them, the newlyweds have over 35 years’ service.

“The base chapel is a beautiful, peaceful space, very much a shrine to the airforce,” said Pearce. “For Dave and I to celebrate our marriage there, amongst friends, family and fellow servicemen and women, was particularly poignant.”

Colonel Lance Lukin, the Defence Force’s principal chaplain, gave a reading and offered prayers at the service.

The Herald reported that Celebrant Richard Tankersley – who officiated the ceremony – described the ceremony on Facebook as “a really big step for two great guys and another small step in the ongoing realisation of equal rights for all New Zealanders”. 

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