Canberra — Despite the prospect of a High Court decision ruling against the unions later this week, Australia celebrated its first same-sex marriage in the ACT on Saturday.
The first couple to take advantage of Canberra’s new marriage law was Stephen Dawson, a Labor Party member of the Western Australian parliament, and Dennis Liddelow, who were married in a midnight wedding on the lawns of the Federal Parliament .
The High Court will rule on the federal government’s challenge to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) law passed in October that legalized gay marriages in the ACT.
Canberra is currently the only place in Australia which permits gay marriage, but the federal government says the ACT law is inconsistent with federal law.
Australia’s federal Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and so though same-sex civil unions are available in a majority of Australian states, the government does not formally recognized them as married couples.
Over 20 other couples flocked to Canberra to tie the knot later on Saturday, the first day to be able to do so under the new law, said reports.
“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 recognized as a marriage,” said Dawson after marrying his partner Dennis Liddelow.
“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,” Australian Marriage Equality’s Rodney Croome said.
New Zealand became the first Asia-Pacific country to legalize same sex marriage last April.