Same-sex couples marry in ACT
Twenty-six couples wed over the weekend in the ACT when same-sex marriage legislation came into law.
The first to tie the knot was Western Australian Upper House MP, Stephen Dawson, who conducted a midnight ceremony on the lawns of Parliament House. Dawson wed his long-time partner Dennis Liddelow.
Dawson said he was happy to finally be able to call his partner his husband, and hoped they High Court would rule in favour of the territory’s law.
"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."
Dawson told the ABC that he and Liddelow decided to exchange their vows on the grounds of Federal Parliament to make a statement.
"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."
Australia Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said the weekend weddings were a reminder that the same-sex marriage reform is timely and that it is not about politics but love, commitment and fairness.
"This is an important day for same-sex couples and our families, but also for the nation, because today Australia is a fairer and more equal country that values love more highly,” said Croome.
AME deputy director, Ivan Hinton, also took the opportunity to marry his long-time partner Chris Teoh over the weekend.
Hinton commented on Saturday, "Today Chris and awoke to a community that embraces us for who we are, recognises the value of our commitment to one another and shares in our hope for the future.
"Even before our wedding begins we're on cloud nine."
Speaking after the ceremony, Hinton addressed a press conference saying it was important same-sex couples realise they deserve their relationships to be respected.
“It's important that they know that it's OK to be gay and it's OK to hope that one day you're going to find the most amazing, beautiful, sensitive, complementary friend for life, and that's what I've found with Chris.
"The relationship that we have is as deep and as personal as any in this nation. I love him with all my heart and there should never be any rule in this country that disrespects the commitment that two people like us wish to express to one another."
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, who was instrumental in pushing for the reform, said the number of couples willing to commit to a marriage despite the uncertainty of the High Court result was encouraging.
"In terms of where we go from here, the world has changed, the landscape has changed. It won't be when or if same-sex couples can get married, it's they were married and this momentum will continue to build and I have no doubt it's changed the debate."
In honour of the passing of the same sex marriage act into law, the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain blacked out at 11.59pm on Friday evening and then turned back on at 12am lit in sequential rainbow colours to mark the first same-sex weddings.
The AME is currently calling on Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote for Coalition MPs.