First Australian Same-Sex Couples Exercise Their Right To Marry Under New Law

Couples across the country filed "intended marriage" forms this weekend.

After years of public debate and political rhetoric that sometimes bordered on hateful, same-sex couples in Australia were done waiting and ready to celebrate when the country's parliament passed marriage equality legislation on Friday. While Australian laws require couples to give a month's notice of their intent to wed, couples visited registries across the country Saturday morning. And at least one couple commemorated the day with a proposal. 


Brendan Berne, the Australian ambassador to France, met his boyfriend Thomas Marti on a tram in Amsterdam over 11 years ago. In a video posted to his Twitter only four hours after Parliament's decision, Berne surprises Marti at his office in Paris to ask him to marry him.  

"Now, as Australia has just approved marriage equality, it is my turn now," Berne says in the video. "My turn to ratify my own relationship."

Marti's response was a simple, straightforward, "Oui!"

Per The Guardian, registries in Australia are typically only open Saturdays for civil ceremonies, but offices were open, with extra staff, this weekend for same-sex couples wanting to file their intent to marry. The forms have been updated with the labels "party 1" and "party 2" from "bride" and "bridegroom." At New South Wales' registry of births, deaths, and marriages office in Sydney, Daniel Barnett and Daniel Gray-Barnett became the first same-sex couple to file an intended marriage form in the city.

"Today was a great day for Australia and for me," Berne captioned the video on Twitter. "HE SAID YES!" 

Cover image via Felman / Shutterstock


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