News State NSW News First same-sex couple registers to marry in Sydney

First same-sex couple registers to marry in Sydney

same-sex marriage
The Sydney couple say they booked the first appointment on the first day of the new same-sex marriage laws. Photo: Twitter
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The first same-sex couple to register their notice to marry in Sydney say they never believed this day would come so soon.

Daniel Barnett, 39, and Daniel Gray-Barnett, 36, bashfully told their love story to waiting media at the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages on Saturday, two days after the laws were passed in parliament.

Since the couple fell in love “at first sight” on a night out seven years ago, they have been inseparable.

Four years ago Mr Gray-Barnett’s “extremely romantic” proposal on a lantern-lit cliffside in Bali blew his boyfriend away.

Now, they have made plans for a legal wedding on January 30 to coincide with the anniversary of their symbolic wedding ceremony at the Grounds of Alexandria cafe in Sydney three years ago.

Mr Gray-Barnett says they couldn’t wait for the law to pass, but they would take full advantage of its legal protections and formalise their union through the registry.

The 36-year-old legally changed his name to add the “Barnett” to his surname and reflect their union.

“We wanted to have a party and ceremony with all our family and friends and show to everyone we felt like we were married,” the 36-year-old said about their decision to beat the law.

However, the pair were still overcome with emotion when the ‘Yes’ vote won the postal survey.

“It was a really amazing moment. I burst into tears and I didn’t know I was going to do that,” Mr Barnett said.

“Attitudes have come far.

“We can hold hands in the street and people don’t bat an eyelid, whereas when I was a teenager I wouldn’t dare to do that unless I was on Oxford Street.

Similar sentiments were echoed by 48-year-old Valeria Ballantyne, who joined her partner Clare Jacobs, 31, at the registry.

“Being a child of the 80s there was so much more that we had to fight for. Gay acceptance. Let’s not get bashed. I never thought that we’d reach this level of acceptance so quickly,” the 48-year-old said.

“It’s overwhelming.”

Although the couple celebrated with a commitment ceremony in Byron Bay last year, they felt it was important to quickly get their marriage legalised.

“We already consider ourselves married anyway,” Ms Jacobs said.

The registry is usually only open on Saturdays to conduct civil wedding ceremonies, however an exception has been made for same-sex couples this weekend.

New intended marriage forms include the heading Party 1 and Party 2 instead of Bridegroom and Bride, with a description of party section offering three options: groom, bride and partner.

As well, there are three boxes for gender: male, female and x – which is described as “indeterminate, intersex or unspecified”.

Gay couples who tied the knot overseas will now have their unions officially recognised.

A review into religious freedom will report in March, which could lead to further law changes.