Gay couples wed under Australia's landmark same-sex marriage law


Gay and lesbian couples in Australia can legally tie the knot for the first time after the Australian Capital Territory passed a same-sex marriage bill. But they better hurry because the federal government is planning to challenge the legislation.



A politician and his partner were among the first gay couples in Australia to tie the knot under a landmark same-sex marriage law on Saturday.

Just after midnight local time, Stephen Dawson, a member of the opposition Labor Party in Western Australia, and partner Dennis Liddelow, said “I do” in the national capital Canberra.

In October, the Australian Capital Territory, which includes Canberra, became the first jurisdiction in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill took effect on Saturday.

But the couple’s marriage may be short-lived: the High Court will hear a federal government challenge to the validity of the ACT law on Thursday.

More from GlobalPost: Australian Capital Territory becomes first in country to legalize same-sex marriage

"We don't know how long we've got in the sense that the High Court might overrule the laws next week, so we thought: 'let's do it straight away and let's have the maximum amount of time being married,'" Dawson was quoted as saying before the civil ceremony in front of Parliament House.

After exchanging vows with Liddelow, an emotional Dawson said: "I'm just very, very happy. I hope that the High Court sees fit to allow these laws to stay.”

Alan Wright and Joel Player also tied the knot in the early hours of Saturday.

"To have it finally legalized, it's a big step for us in our relationship, so we're just wanting to get it done," Player said ahead of the ceremony in Canberra. 

The federal government claims to have legal advice that the ACT legislation is invalid under the nationwide Marriage Act, which was amended in 2004 to specify that marriage was between a man and a woman.