Same-sex couples married in midnight ceremonies across Australia earlier in January after the country’s last legal impediment to gay marriage expired.
Marriage equality became law on Dec. 9 with overwhelming support in Parliament, but Australia’s requirement that all couples give a month’s notice for weddings made, meaning that couples had to wait till January 2018 before marriages can legally be consummated.
In Newcastle, north of Sydney, Rebecca Hickson, 32, married her partner of nine years, Sarah Turnbull, 34.
Hickson described the divisive build-up to a gay marriage ballot preceding Parliament’s vote as “a horrible time.” She said the couple wanted to be part of history by becoming one of the first lesbian couples to marry in Australia.
“Today we are a more equal and inclusive country that treats all loving, committed couples the same,” Croome said in a statement.
The Parliament voted in favor of the bill after a nationwide postal survey found that 62 percent of respondents wanted marriage equality. Australia and Ireland remain the only countries that have put the question of legalizing gay marriage to a popular vote.