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Cruise ship company offers same-sex wedding ceremonies at sea

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The return voyage might not be so fun, if your home country still doesn't recognise same-sex marriage as legal.
The return voyage might not be so fun, if your home country still doesn’t recognise same-sex marriage as legal.

Image: sylent press/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Not living in a country where same-sex marriage is legal? Even though your own government isn’t recognising your civil right to marry whoever the heck you like, the sea will.

Cruise ship company Celebrity Cruises has announced the commencement of legal same-sex marriages onboard their ships, officiated by the captain in international waters.

Well, sort of. See, most of the Celebrity fleet is registered in Malta, where same-sex marriage was legalised in July 2017. This means the fleet is legally able, under Maltese law, to recognise same-sex marriage onboard, officiated by the fleet’s captains.

The company is specifically targeting Australia, where same-sex marriage is not yet legal, and whose citizens are currently in the middle of a non-binding, non-compulsory nationwide postal survey asking the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” 

Celebrity Cruises CEO and president Lisa Lutoff-Perlo announced on Friday that their Australian ship Celebrity Solstice would join the company’s 12-strong international fleet in offering legalised same-sex marriage ceremonies.

“Australia is a significant market for Celebrity Cruises, ranking as the third largest source market worldwide. More than 50,000 Australians cruise with us each year — both in Australia and overseas,” said Lutoff-Perlo in a press statement.

Back to square one when you’re home though.

The sad reality for Australians and other countries where same-sex marriage isn’t yet legal, is even if you’ve been wed legally on the ship, you have to return home to a country you’re still not legally married in. Back to square one.

Nevertheless, it’s at least a public gesture of support, I guess.

“Celebrity Weddings has already hosted many same-sex weddings in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, where legal,” said Barbara Whitehall, managing director, The Wedding Experience in a press statement. “We are ecstatic that this new Malta ruling opens up marriage equality for anyone and everyone sailing with Celebrity Cruises while in international waters.”

The Australian ceremonies will kick off when the Celebrity Solstice will return to the country on October 20, 2017, for its sixth local season.

Honestly, if you have to get married to the love of your damn life on a boat kilometres off the coast of your own country, we’re in a pretty dark place, World.

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