Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

First Australian gay weddings held in capital city

Marriage Equality leader Ivan Hinton, right, and Chris Teoh display their marriage certificate in Canberra, Australia, on Saturday.

European Pressphoto Agency

Marriage Equality leader Ivan Hinton, right, and Chris Teoh display their marriage certificate in Canberra, Australia, on Saturday.

CANBERRA, Australia — Gay and lesbian couples from around Australia joined in fragile marriages in Canberra on Saturday under the nation's beleaguered same-sex union laws that face a challenge in the courts within a week.

The hastily arranged ceremonies held under blue summer skies were bitter-sweet occasions for some couples who realize the High Court could annul their unions on Thursday.

The federal government has challenged the validity of the Australian Capital Territory's fledgling law that had made gay marriage legal in Canberra and its surrounds from Saturday.

Bills to change federal law to allow gay marriage were twice rejected by Parliament last year, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott was elected in September on a platform of opposing marriage equality.

Some marriage equality advocates feared that the High Court would block same-sex weddings from Tuesday when it heard the challenge. But no orders were made to impede weekend ceremonies.

If the law survives the High Court challenge next week, the Federal Parliament could then overturn it with legislation that would ignite a divisive and bitter debate about human and state rights.

Rodney Croome, national director of the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, said 25 same-sex couples had reported planning to marry in Canberra this weekend, including his deputy director, Ivan Hinton.

The actual figure could be higher.

"This is the first time that we have been able to demonstrate that the sky will not cave in" due to gay couples marrying in Australia, a tearful Hinton said at his wedding to his Malaysian-born husband, Chris Teoh.

Gays and lesbians who married on grassy spaces against the backdrops of Canberra's many symbols of democracy on Saturday said they would be deeply disappointed if the laws failed at the first hurdle this week.

But several said their potentially short-lived unions would remain achievements toward marriage equality.

"Regardless of what happens on Thursday, we still get five days of legally being together," said Stacey Cowan, as she posed for photographs outside Australia's original Parliament House with her new wife, Corrina Peck.

The couple traveled more than 250 miles from their coastal hometown of Blue Haven for the occasion.

First Australian gay weddings held in capital city 12/07/13 [Last modified: Saturday, December 7, 2013 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. How should St. Pete make up for dumping all that sewage? How about a street sweeper?

    Blogs

    Every crisis has a silver lining.

    In the case of St. Petersburg’s sewage crisis, which spawned state and federal investigations and delivered a state consent decree ordering the city to fix a dilapidated sewer system, the upside is figuring out how to satisfy the $810,000 civil penalty levied by the Florida …

  2. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  3. Tampa poll rates streets, flooding, police-community relations and transportation as top public priorities

    Blogs

    A city of Tampa online survey of the public's priorities for the next 18 months rated improving streets and easing flooding as the top priority of nearly 89 percent of respondents.

    Survey results
  4. Video shows women violently beating another in apparent Pasco road rage incident

    Crime

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Two women are accused of dragging another woman out of her car window and beating her unconscious at a Pasco County intersection in an apparent road rage incident, according to the Sheriff's Office.

    Shelley Lyn Gemberling, 49, and Alicia Nikole Scarduzio, 20, are accused of pulling another driver out of her car and beating her in a Pasco County intersection. (Pasco Sheriff's Office)
  5. Top 5 at noon: Out of sight, out of mind: a Times investigation; PolitiFact: what's at stake in the tax debate? and more

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

    Aaron Richardson Jr. talks to voices in his head at his father's bail bond business in St. Petersburg. Richardson has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]