By Renee Bogatko, Image Credit - @EMRAUST/Facebook
Same-sex couples across Australia are thrilled as they tie the knot on the first official day of marriage equality.
It’s after same-sex marriage legislation cleared Parliament on December 7, following the YES result from the postal survey.
One of the first ceremonies in NSW took place overnight near Tweed Heads, where athletes Craig Burns and Luke Sullivan got married just after midnight!
Here in Canberra, at this stage it looks like the first same-sex wedding will take place on Saturday.
“What’s significant for them is to be surrounded by family and friends, so they’re choosing the weekend. We’re not in a rush anymore, this is something we can all enjoy and one of the most significant reasons why we wanted to achieve marriage equality in Australia, is so we don’t have to travel overseas and get married,” Ivan Hinton-Teoh from Just Equal said.
“I think weekends from this point onwards are going to be quite busy with couples who’ve been waiting for too long.”
Image Credit – Anton Havelaar/123rf.com
Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh, who’s also a long-time marriage equality advocate, agreed it’s been a long time coming.
“You’ll be seeing there’s not frogs falling from the sky, there’s not locusts eating the crops, the sun is still up and the birds are singing and that’s what we expected with marriage equality,” he said.
“As we see these weddings happening across Canberra and across Australia, increasingly Australians will recognise that marriage equality is simply an evolution of our social views.”
Mr Hinton-Teoh and his partner Chris married in Canada in 2008.
Now their marriage is finally recognised here, he’s looking forward to being able to celebrate with family and friends properly.
“I do look forward to that possibility of walking through the door and being introduced by someone as Mr and Mr Hinton-Teoh. It’s been a long road.”
He also described the burden the drawn-out process has been on many LGBTI people.
“We’ve had to leave our family and friends for so many years and travel to other countries who have afforded this dignity when our own country wouldn’t. So the possibility of being able to celebrate our relationships with equal dignity is incredible,” he said.
“From today onwards, this country is a better place.”