THE Federal Government has confirmed it won’t stand in the way of couples wishing to wed under the UK’s same-sex marriage laws, following the first ceremonies on Saturday.
Australian-born human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was the official witness at Peter McGraith and David Cabreza’s wedding held in the north London suburb of Islington.
Tatchell, who has long advocated for right for gay couples to marry, said the day was one for rejoicing.
“I believe we should all be equal before the law; that homophobic discrimination is wrong and should be overturned,” he said.
“Banning LGBT people from marriage was anti-gay discrimination. That’s why I fought to overturn it.”
Comedian and BBC radio host Sandi Toksvig renewed her vows with her partner at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
“We all have to tread our own path,” Toksvig said.
“I’m just delighted that mine has crossed with Debbie’s.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron took to Twitter saying: “Congratulations to the gay couples who have already been married – and my best wishes to those about to be on this historic day.”
The first same-sex marriages in the UK’s Australian consuls are expected to take place in June after the Federal Government chose not to put a stop on them.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Attorney-General George Brandis’ office confirmed they had “no objections to officers from the British High Commission solemnising same-sex marriages… if at least one person is a British national.”
However, the marriages will not be recognised in Australia.
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said the decision was significant: “It means that many couples who would otherwise have had to go to Britain to marry will be able to do so at home in the company of friends and family.”
Croome also urged Tony Abbott to follow the lead of the UK’s conservative prime minister: “It’s inspiring that this reform was achieved under a Conservative Government, giving supporters of reform the hope that the same can happen in Australia.”