Midnight marriages usher in Australia's same-sex wedding laws

SYDNEY (Reuters) - At the stroke of midnight and in the early hours of Tuesday morning dozens of same-sex couples exchanged wedding vows across Australia as laws making the nation the 26th in the world to legalize gay marriage took effect.

"It was just magical," Diana Ribeiro told Special Broadcasting Service television, after her minute-past-midnight marriage in Melbourne to her wife Deanne Ribeiro was solemnized before about 60 cheering guests.

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"For me Deanne's always been my wife, always been the love of my life and today's not going to change that, it's just about equality really, and being able to finally be legal in Australia," she said.

Australian's parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage in December after a nationwide postal survey returned an overwhelming majority in favor of the unions.

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Australia's first same-sex marriage ceremonies
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Australia's first same-sex marriage ceremonies
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09: Craig Burns and Luke Sullivan during their wedding ceremony at Summergrove Estate on January 9, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Australian Commonwealth Games sprinter Craig Burns (L) and fiance Luke Sullivan (R) pose ahead of their marriage ceremony at Summergrove Estate, New South Wales on January 8, 2018. Australia officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after the law was passed on December 9, 2017, with the overwhelming backing of the Federal Parliament. / AFP PHOTO / Patrick HAMILTON (Photo credit should read PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 08: Craig Burns and Luke Sullivan during their wedding ceremony at Summergrove Estate on January 9, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09: Craig Burns and Luke Sullivan after signing the certificate of marriage during their wedding ceremony at Summergrove Estate on January 9, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09: Lisa Goldsmith and Gillian Brady during the wedding ceremony at The Court on January 9, 2018 in Perth, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09: Gillian Brady and Lisa Goldsmith pose after the wedding ceremony at The Court on January 9, 2018 in Perth, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)
So this happened last night. These two stunners tied the knot at the stroke of midnight to make history as one of the first same sex couples to wed in Australia! Some amazing wedding creatives came together to pull of a very epic Melbourne wedding. Good times ahead ❤️🌈 Blooms @goodgraceandhumour Bridal dresses @gingerandgoldbridal Hair & Make up @katemakeupart Snapped @christianmarcphotography Venue @ferdydurkebar @thealtarelectric #teeganandtie
It’s very rare that I am at a loss for words (just ask Mahatia); but I am truly finding it hard to find the right words to thank the absolutely incredible team of vendors that selflessly and lovingly donated their epic talents to our wedding extravaganza last night. It’s easy to forget sometimes that humans like these still exist, but last night was proof. They are some of the best in the business; utterly professional and amazingly great at what they do, and each and every one of them supported us with the widest of open arms, as if we were old friends. We had such an incredible day and night yesterday, it was surreal, magical and wonderful. Thank you all, a million times over xx 📷 @christianmarcphotography • @ferdydurkebar @thealtarelectric @christianmarcphotography @katemakeupart @gingerandgoldbridal @goodgraceandhumour @gooddayrentals_vintage @fidelandsarah @lovekittypimms @notelmelbourne @lunar_red_films @fatandskinnycatering @jamladyjam
We are honoured to host Bondi's first same sex marriage at The Bucket List this morning between Shelly and Zehavit #loveislove #congrats #samesexmarriage pic @willow.rose.music 🌈❤️🙏🏻
Celebrations 🏳️‍🌈 #equality #loveislove #lovewhoyoulove #makinghistory #australia #sydney @shiranaway2leegal @l_alkobi #firstsamesexcoupleinbondi #bondi #love @sgodbolt ❤️@the_holistic_local thank you for contributing to our wedding @thebucketlistbondi @inbaldrorofficial @helenrodriguesbridal @annalisewithlove @skinbodyhealthclinic @mumrunsforfun @gouldos @qt_hotels @yadge_ @petalumawine @amequality @magda_szubanski @elseephotography
////It's finally happened...at 6am ❤💜💛💚💙 After 18 years together Craig and Katsu have finally been able to have their love legally recognised like everyone else. . . . . . . #loveislove #samesexmarriage #simpleceremonies #harbourwedding #registrystylewedding #sydneyweddings #gayweddings #bradfieldpark #weddingplanner #sydneyweddingplanner #elopement #affordableweddings
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09: Antony McManus and Ron Van Houwelingen get married on January 9, 2018 in the theatre where they met 30 years ago in Melbourne, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect today. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09: Antony McManus and Ron Van Houwelingen get married on January 9, 2018 in the thetare where they meet 30 years ago in Melbourne, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Australian Commonwealth Games sprinter Craig Burns (L) and partner Luke Sullivan (R) are applauded as they depart after their marriage ceremony at Summergrove Estate, New South Wales on January 9, 2018. Australia officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after the law was passed on December 9, 2017, with the overwhelming backing of the Federal Parliament. / AFP PHOTO / Patrick HAMILTON (Photo credit should read PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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The survey result prompted relief, then celebration among campaigners who had for decades pushed for change, and later cheers and singing on the floor of parliament when the law passed. Some Australian states ruled homosexual acts to be illegal until just 20 years ago.

Because a month's notice is required for the state to recognize a marriage, the Rieberos' wedding and several other same-sex marriages reported in the local press were among the first to be recognized under the new laws.

Several same-sex couples already wed in December after the notice period was waived for reasons such as one member of the couple falling gravely ill, or to allow a legal wedding to go ahead when a non-binding ceremony was already planned.

Religious organizations 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 legalized.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Michael Perry)

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