Two women have become the first couple to take advantage of marriage equality in Austria, exchanging their vows shortly after midnight on 1 January.

Nicole Kopaunik and Daniela Paier were wed in the southern town of Velden just five minutes into 2019, when same-sex marriage officially became legal, reports ORF.

Austria’s Constitutional Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage on 4 December, 2017 after a complaint was brought before the court by a lesbian couple and four other couples, but the change didn’t take full effect until the beginning of this year.

The current government of Austria, a conservative coalition of the Austrian People’s Party and the Freedom Party of Austria, strongly oppose marriage equality but said they would respect the court’s decision, according to The Associated Press.

The unnamed lesbian plaintiffs in the case were allowed to tie the knot in October of last year, but Kopaunik and Paier are the first to do so since marriage equality was extended to the entire nation.

“Getting married was only a matter of time for us, or rather a matter of legal regulation,” Kopaunik told ORF.

“Now everyone has the chance to decide for themselves, if they want a “marriage for all” or a legal partnership, but that was not the case before.”

In 2009 Austria granted same-sex couples the right to enter into legal civil partnerships, but the 2017 ruling has allowed all couples the choice of civil union or marriage regardless of sexuality.

The newlyweds, who were reportedly engaged for four years prior to the ceremony, have chosen to take Nicole’s surname as their new family name.

The Kopauniks were supported by the Velden community in their bid to marry, with wedding planners and the local government helping to clear any obstacles that stood in their way.

Mayor Ferdinand Vouk thanked church officials and wedding registrar Klaus Gottwald for things going so smoothly, describing Velden playing host to the wedding as a “great pleasure and honour”.

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