January 9, 2018 at 11:53 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Same-sex couples in Australia begin to marry

Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Australia on Jan. 9, 2018. (Image by Fry1989; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Australia on Tuesday.

SBS News reported Diana and Deanne Ribeiro tied the knot shortly after midnight local time in the Melbourne suburb of Balaclava. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Kylie and Lisa Caro — a lesbian couple who began dating in 2014 and are raising a daughter together — are among the other same-sex couples who exchanged vows on Tuesday.

“We’re both still on cloud nine,” Kylie Caro told the Sydney Morning Herald after the wedding.

More than 60 percent of Australians who took part in a non-binding postal plebiscite on whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples said “yes.”

The Australian Senate approved a same-sex marriage bill less than three weeks after the country’s Bureau of Statistics announced the results of the plebiscite. The Australian House of Representatives nearly unanimously approved the measure on Dec. 7.

The bill received royal assent from Governor General Peter Cosgrove two days later.

Australian law says couples must wait 30 days to get married once they apply to do so. A handful of same-sex couples were able to exchange vows last month after they received waivers because of health and other specific circumstances.

“Australia said YES, Parliament said YES, and now all LGBTI couples can finally say YES (and I do) in Australia,” wrote Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality who is also a member of the New South Wales Parliament, on his Twitter page.

Sydney City Councilwoman Christine Forster, who is a lesbian, is among those who also celebrated the extension of marriage rights for same-sex couples. Her brother, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is among those who oppose same-sex marriage.

Australia is the 26th country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“Loving same-sex couples can now marry in Australia,” said the Human Rights Campaign on its Twitter page. “Congratulations to all the newlyweds making history!”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • That happened in Canada, a rush to get married, and then the first lawsuit filed against the divorce act

    for a short while, there was a period of time that queers could be married but not divorce as the heteros could until the courts sorted that bit of law next, rather than both at the same time. After over a decade of stats, turns out gay men last longer than lesbian couples.

    good luck to all the couples, either way, eh

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