Thursday, 18 January 2018

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Australia has celebrated its first official same-sex weddings, following a nationwide postal vote and subsequent passing of legislation legalising the practice in 2017. 7 News reports January 9 marked the first day same-sex marriages could officially take place and for some couples, there was no waiting planned. Athletes Craig Burns and Luke Sullivan timed proceedings, so their marriage would become legal just after the stroke of midnight. Many same-sex couples were quick to lodge formal intentions to wed after the legislation passed on December 7. While some were granted exemptions to the four-week waiting period, Tuesday was the first day ceremonies could officially take place. Two couples called the process of sitting through the postal vote and the rhetoric around it "horrible", but were happy to finally have the chance to marry. Rebecca Hickson, 32, and Sarah Turnbull , 34, wed at 8am Tuesday, three years after their original commitment celebrations. "We've already had our big hoo-ha ceremony three years ago, but now we get to declare our love for each other again and have it recognised as a real union," Ms Hickson said. Ron Van Houwelingen, 50, and Antony McManus, 53, had similar sentiments, finally marrying in the theatre where they met as students 30 years ago. After several commitment ceremonies, Mr Van Houwelingen called it a "wedding planned for 30 years". "I suppose it's been a wedding planned for 30 years, but we've had really a month to get things together," he said. "It's been quite hectic, trying to organise that in such a short amount of time."

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