18 Jul 2018

Marriage equality provides tourism boon for Saipan

7:45 pm on 18 July 2018

The Northern Marianas island of Saipan is booming as a location for same sex marriages.

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Photo: 123rf

The Saipan Mayor's Office issued a total of 117 marriage licenses during the first six months of the year, 90 to same-sex couples.

While Chinese tourists still continue to lead traveller numbers to the CNMI to tie the knot, Saipan Mayor David Apatang said other ethnicities such as Russians, Koreans and Bangladeshis have followed suit.

Of the same-sex couples that received marriage licenses from the Mayor's Office, 61 were female couples and 29 were male couples and the majority were Chinese.

The rise in same-sex marriages, especially from tourists, came as the mayor's office increased the cost of obtaining marriage licenses.

Non-residents or tourists are charged US$250 to obtain a marriage licence and residents are charged US$130.

In Oceania, only the CNMI, Guam, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna recognise full marriage equality along with Australia, Hawai'i and New Zealand.