Australia’s first same-sex marriages occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, with a Western Australian MP tying the knot with his long-term partner on the lawns of Federal Parliament in Canberra.
Forty-six couples have registered in order to be able to wed this weekend ahead of a decision on Thursday on whether the ACT’s same-sex marriage law is valid.
WA Upper House MP Stephen Dawson was the first to take his vows with a midnight ceremony.
He says he has wanted to call his partner Dennis Liddelow his husband for a long time.
“I’m pleased that I’ve been able to say it tonight and I hope to be able to say it next weekend. I hope that the High Court sees fit to allow these laws to stay,” he said.
“This is about us professing our love for each other and reminding each other after 10 years that we still love each other and at least for the moment our relationship will be legally recognised as a marriage.”
He says the couple exchanged vows on the lawn of the Federal Parliament in order to make a statement.
“For symbolic reasons, I guess. Everybody knows that Parliaments make laws in this country [and] this place has been slow in making laws, particularly on the issue of same-sex marriage.”
Old Parliament House and numerous lakeside venues are heavily booked for ceremonies.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says she is encouraged by the number of people willing to get married while the law stands.
“Despite the uncertainty [it] shows how important this is.”