Hawaii throws surprise wedding for gay military veterans

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In a bid to attract more same-sex couples to marry there, Hawaii did something pretty special for a gay military veteran couple.

The couple, Christian Alarid, 24, and Shayne Barnes, 27, were lured down, thinking they were taking part in a photoshoot for a marketing campaign for the state.


But when they got there, organisers had organised a surprise wedding.

Alarid is the first to find out, and says to Barnes: “This isn’t a shoot… It’s the real thing. And today’s the day. Are you willing to marry me?”

The couple had been contacted by Hawaii’s Visitors and Conventions Bureau (HCVB) last year after they got engaged.


The HCVB worked with local venues and Alaska Airlines to bring the families of the couples together.

The battle for same-sex marriage in Hawaii started earlier than most US states, as three couples walked into the Department of Health in Honolulu in 1990 to register for marriage licences.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that banning same-sex couples from marrying was discriminatory.


The state later passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 1998 but in 2013 the state’s legislature allowed same-sex couples to marry.

It is estimated that, after the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage last year, Hawaii could benefit with as much as $27 million spent on weddings each year.

Check out the wedding below: