Australian State MP & Partner First Gay Couple to Wed in Australia
The Telegraph reports, “An Australian state MP and his partner will become the first gay couple to wed in Australia at 12.01am on Saturday after travelling 2200 miles to the nation’s capital to marry outside Parliament House .
Stephen Dawson, 38, a Labor MP from Western Australia, will marry his partner of eleven years, Dennis Liddelow, in the Australian Capital Territory, which will on Saturday become the first jurisdiction to allow same sex marriage.
“Dennis and I are both quite private people when it comes to our relationship,” Mr Dawson said.
“We thought long and hard, not so much about getting married, but about making an issue of the fact that we’re doing this. We think everybody should have this right.”
However, the wedding may be annulled as soon as Thursday, when the High Court delivers a ruling on whether the territory’s move is lawful.
The prime minister, Tony Abbott, a staunch Catholic who opposes gay marriage, has challenged the territory’s legislation, arguing that marriage laws should be determined by the federal government to ensure they are nationally uniform.
Most analysts believe the court is likely to annul the laws, though the judges may find a way to provide some concession to gay marriage advocates.
A majority of Australians support same sex marriage.
About 20 couples are believed to have travelled to the capital from around the country to have a same sex marriage this weekend.
A marriage celebrant, Judy Aulich, is due to conduct nine same-sex marriages in 48 hours from Saturday morning, saying most of the couples wanted “quickies”.
“Overwhelmingly the couples I’m doing are what I’m calling ’quickies’ — they’ve been in relationships for a long time and they just want the ceremony,” she told The Canberra Times.
“One couple rang me and said they’ll be coming in their jeans … another said they were going to book a hotel room and were going to do it in bed in their pyjamas.”
She noted that she will also conduct two heterosexual weddings.
Mr Dawson said he rushed to Canberra to have the wedding because “we don’t know how long we’ve got”.
“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’,” he said.
Like many Australian same sex couples, Mr Dawson and his partner went abroad several years ago to have a civil union.
“Dennis and I actually had a civil union in Ireland a few years ago,” he said.
“But a civil union is not marriage and a civil union in Ireland is not a marriage in Australia.”
Canberra’s iconic Telstra Tower will be lit up with rainbow colours as the territory’s new law goes into effect at midnight.”