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Modern Family star joins first-day gay wedding at 30,000 feet

Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau become first same-sex couple to marry in the skies as gay marriage becomes legal in New Zealand
Jesse Tyler Fergusson attending the wedding on an Air New Zealand flight.

Modern Family actor and marriage equality campaigner Jesse Tyler Ferguson joined a New Zealand couple as they celebrated gay marriage becoming law in their country by tying the knot in the skies today (19 August).

Kiwi couple Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau said ‘I do’ in front of their friends and family, including their four children, onboard a special Air New Zealand flight from Queenstown to Auckland.

Ferguson attended with his husband Justin Mikita.

The star, who plays gay character Mitchell in the top US comedy, said: ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to celebrate this historic and joyous moment with Lynley and Ally.

'Marriage equality is something very dear to both Justin and me.'

Ferguson and Mikita gave the couples' children bow ties from their charity Tie The Knot which raises funds to promote marriage equality.

Following the ceremony a surprise choir performed traditional Maori love song Pokarekare Ana, which was also sung in the New Zealand Parliament in April when the bill was passed.

Lynley says the couple has waited a long time to make their 13-year union official.

'To be married at 30,000 feet beneath strings of fairy lights with our children, friends and family as witnesses makes an already memorable day that much more special. It was surreal to have Jesse play a part in the ceremony too – we’re big fans of Modern Family!”

Air New Zealand chief people officer Lorraine Murphy said the in-flight ceremony was an unforgettable way to mark the law change and was ‘a great celebration of New Zealand’s diversity.’

The newlyweds leave tonight for their honeymoon at a Palm Spring’s resort near Los Angeles.

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