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Australian MP Stephen Dawson in first gay marriage

Saturday, 7 December 2013 - 7:30am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

An Australian state MP and his boyfriend became the first homosexual couple to marry in Australia at 12.01am today (Saturday) after travelling 2,200 miles to the nation's capital. Stephen Dawson, 38, a Labor MP from Western Australia, married his partner of 11 years, Dennis Liddelow, in front of parliament house in the Australian Capital Territory, which became the first jurisdiction to allow same-sex marriage today.

"Dennis and I are both quite private people when it comes to our relationship," Mr Dawson said. "We thought long and hard, not so much about getting married, but about making an issue of the fact that we're doing this. We think everybody should have this right."

However, the wedding may be annulled as soon as Thursday, when the High Court delivers a ruling on whether the territory's stance is lawful. The prime minister, Tony Abbott, a staunch Roman Catholic who opposes same-sex marriage, has challenged the legislation, arguing that marriage laws should be determined by the federal government to ensure they are nationally uniform.

Most analysts believe the court is likely to annul the laws, though the judges may find a way to provide some concession to gay marriage advocates.

A majority of Australians support same-sex marriage. About 20 couples are believed to have travelled to the capital from around the country to have a same-sex marriage this weekend.

A marriage celebrant, Judy Aulich, is due to conduct nine same-sex marriages in 48 hours from this morning, saying most of the couples wanted "quickies", with a minimum of fuss.

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