'Just magical': First same-sex marriage ceremonies held across Australia

Matt Jelonek  Getty Images

Antony McManus and Ron Van Houwelingen cut their wedding cake after getting married on January 9, 2018, in Melbourne, Australia.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia on December 7 after 61.6 per cent of people voted for the Australian Marriage Act in a postal survey.

Atfer voting a resounding "yes" in the postal vote survey in November past year, the history-making law allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in Australia passed one month ago, but today is the first day same-sex couples can be Wednesday. The measure was widely lauded as a victory for worldwide LGBTI+ groups - a term that refers collectively to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex or other sexual minorities. All Australian couples must provide a full month's notice of their intention to get married.

Sarah May Alexander  Instagram
Sarah May Alexander Instagram

Australian Commonwealth Games sprinter Craig Burns (L) and fiance Luke Sullivan (R) pose for a photograph with Rob (C) and Robyn Burns (2L) ahead of their marriage ceremony at Summergrove Estate, New South Wales on 8 January 2018.

Wedding guest Rodney Croome, a long-time marriage equality advocate and spokesperson for Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality, said: "This morning's wedding marked the start of a new chapter in the lives of the two brides but also a new chapter in the life of the nation".

In Sydney, local bakeries prepared commemorative cakes for the Sydney Festival's event in Hyde Park.

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For Ron Van Houwelingen, 50, and Antony McManus, 53, it was a dream come true after a wait of 30 years.

Their wedding cake was topped with a symbol of their love.

That made Tuesday the first possible date for gay marriages.

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"It's been quite hectic trying to organize that in such a short amount of time", he said.

Religious organisations and conservative lawmakers had voiced strong opposition to same-sex marriage and pressed unsuccessfully for broad protections for religious objectors, which would have allowed florists and bankers to refuse service to same-sex couples if the unions were legalised.

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