News & Politics

Australian same-sex couples can now marry

At the stroke of midnight – and in the early hours of Tuesday morning – same-sex couples exchanged wedding vows across Australia as the nation became the 26th in the world to legalize marriage equality.

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

“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.

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.