A same-sex couple from Melbourne will be one of the very first in the country to legally marry following the passage of marriage equality.
Weddings were expected to begin from January 9 after same-sex couples had given their required one month’s notice.
But Melbourne woman Stephanie Dyball will legally marry her partner Megan Stapleton next Thursday in Victoria, the ABC reported.
The couple applied for a waiver of the one-month waiting period because they’d booked their wedding early this year and family members were travelling from the UK to be there.
Their celebrant told them if they proved the bookings and payments to the Births Deaths and Marriages Office they may be allowed to legally marry on their original date, the couple told the ABC.
The couple met in 2011 and got engaged a year later but decided to go ahead and book the wedding because they were sick of waiting for the law to be changed.
“We waited and waited and we got a bit tired of waiting and thought, we’re not going to wait around any more for them to change the law, let’s just have a wedding,” Stapleton said.
“We started planning towards the end of last year because family were coming from overseas and interstate and we wanted to give them plenty of notice.”
The couple said they took evidence of the bookings, including the family member’s plane tickets, to the registry office.
“We filled out all the forms and then they did say, ‘You know, don’t get your hopes up’,” Dyball said.
“To be honest, our hopes weren’t too high. But we were quite thrilled when they put it through.”
Stapleton said they had both been looking forward to their white wedding, but felt differently now that they knew the wedding would be legal.
“We just thought it wouldn’t happen this fast even once the law was passed. We just didn’t want to think about it being possible for us because we didn’t want to be disappointed,” she said.
“The day was always going to be special regardless… We’re just really excited to be able to say those words that mean something in front of our family and friends.”
Updated Notice of Intended Marriage forms are available from the Department of Attorney-General website and the website also contains comprehensives information for couples and celebrants.
According to the department, a waiver of the one-month notice may be offered if “arrangements and non-refundable payments of a considerable sum have been made for the proposed wedding, or for any celebration associated with the intended marriage, and the date for the wedding or celebration cannot be changed”.
Another example is if “a party to the intended marriage realises that a close relative or friend of the party is in Australia but the relative or friend has a non-redeemable ticket for departure from Australia within less than a month, and the party wishes the relative or friend to be present at the wedding.”
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