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The First Same-Sex Marriages in Australia Were Held This Weekend — Three Weeks Early

After Australia passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage earlier this month, Sunday saw the country’s first-ever official weddings between two women.

Two female couples tied the knot this weekend, with one wedding occuring in Sydney, and the other in Melbourne. Though a four-week waiting period was written into the law, each couple received special permission to wed earlier than the January 9 opening for registrations.

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Lauren Price and Amy Laker were given special permission to officially marry because many of their family members had flown in from overseas to attend what the couple had originally intended to be a commitment ceremony. But following the passage of the new law, the couple petitioned successfully to get married, allowing their family members to be present for the historic moment.

Another couple, Anne Sedgwick and Lyn Hawkins, were also given special permission to wed Sunday. The two women have been together for over 40 years, and as Sedgwick battles late-stage ovarian cancer they wanted to officially marry to commemorate their life together.

“Anne has been very supportive through all this and marrying her, it’s Anne’s way of saying ‘let’s finally do this,’” Hawkins told website Perth Now.

Almost 62% of Australians voted yes to same sex marriage last month when a national survey on the question was held. Over 12 million Australians participated in this vote, constituting just under 80% of the voting-age population.

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The results of this survey paved the way for the Australian Senate to pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage with almost unanimous support from members. On December 7, the public gallery witnessing the passage of the law celebrated celebrated by erupting into a chorus of “I Am Australian,” a popular country anthem.

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull echoed the sentiment of the public’s enthusiasm in a speech following the Senate vote.

"It's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect," Turnbull said. "This belongs to us all. This is Australia — fair , diverse, loving and filled with respect for every one of us. This is a great day — it belongs to every Australian."