Palm Springs to be final destination or history-making couple

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Palm Springs will be the final destination of a lucky pair of New Zealanders who will become the first same-sex couple to be married 30,000 feet over the country's landscape, as part of a contest announced today by Air New Zealand.

And the primary witness for the mid-air nuptials will be ``Modern Family'' actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Same-sex marriage will become legal in New Zealand on Aug. 19. To mark the occasion, Air New Zealand is asking same-sex couples in New Zealand to apply online for a chance to be married aboard a flight between Queenstown and Auckland.

``We're giving them a honeymoon to Palm Springs in California,'' according to Jodi Williams, the airline's head of global brand development. 

``It'll be an amazing time there escaping the cold Kiwi winter.''

Williams said the airline will provide room on the flight for family and friends of the couple to view the wedding -- along with Ferguson. 

``Jesse has been deeply committed to campaigning for marriage equality and the fact that he is prepared to travel from the United States to be here demonstrates the historic nature of this event,'' she said.

Ferguson said he and his partner, Justin Mikita, were ``thrilled to be taking part'' in the event.

``After launching `Tie The Knot,' our bow tie campaign for marriage equality in the U.S., it is clear that the journey towards marriage, both in the U.S. and beyond, means so much to us,'' he said. ``We cannot wait to celebrate this joyous occasion with Air New Zealand.''

Contest entries are restricted to New Zealand residents, who can apply at www.flyingsocialnetwork.com.

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