Two lesbians from Sydney will be the first same-sex couple to marry in Australia after receiving special permission to tie the knot this Saturday, three weeks before marriage equality takes effect in the rest of the country.
Engaged for two years, Lauren Price and Amy Laker set the December 16 date for their civil ceremony more than a year ago. After the Australian Parliament voted in favor of marriage equality last week,, though, they appealed to their local marriage registrar to be allowed to marry on that day, as they had relatives already planning to come from Wales and it would be an undue financial burden to reschedule.
Normally, couples in Australia must wait 30 days after requesting a marriage license before any ceremony can take place. The official date same-sex couples can begin tying the knot is January 8, 2018.
“We went in there and made our case, and the officials left the room to make their decision,” 29-year-old Laker told Daily Mail Australia. “It was the longest ten minutes of our lives—our hands were so sweaty. When she came back in and said she had good news, I just started crying.”
A total of 65 guests, many from out of town, plan to attend the couple’s ceremony in Sydney.
Price proposed to Laker atop the Eiffel tower after a year of dating. When they first met in a pub, neither was looking for a serious relationship, but they quickly became inseparable: “Once we got together, we just couldn’t not be together,” Laker said. “We just clicked.”
They’re looking forward to the big day (both plan on wearing gowns) and are eager to start a family.
“For us being legally married is more about automatically being next of kin,” says Price, “and also because we want children so it makes that clearer, ’This is my child’s other mother, my wife.'”
At least two other couples have been granted permission to marry early: Megan Stapleton and Stephanie Dyball of Melbourne will be wed next Thursday after receiving a waiver. Dyball and Stapleton also had relatives coming from overseas.