Culture

Here’s How Many Same-Sex Marriages Australia Has Had Without The Sky Falling In

We broke down the numbers.

There have been just shy of 2500 same-sex marriages registered in Australia in the six months since marriage equality was legalised, and hey, would you look at that, the sky hasn’t fallen in.

We contacted Births, Deaths and Marriages departments around the country to get the latest figures from each state and the numbers are in. Unsurprisingly, NSW has had the most same-sex marriages, coming in at 853.

Victoria is next, with 674 glorious gay weddings, followed by Queensland with 374. WA has had 292 same-sex weddings, South Australia has had 162, Tassie has had 66, the ACT has had 48, and the NT has had 21.

In total, there have been 2490 same-sex weddings since it was legalised late last year.

One of the happy couples is Christiana McDonald-Spicer and her wife, Annie, who officially married in the ACT in January after holding a civil ceremony during the height of the postal survey, which she described as “unintended and very stressful”.

But following the passage of marriage equality laws in December, the couple decided to make it official in a casual ceremony in front of their close friends.

Christiana

Christiana and Annie.

“For it to be official and legal was very different in some ways,” Annie told Junkee. “We had already done the wedding thing now so I wasn’t as nervous. I kept trying to downplay it as we got closer, ‘we have already had the important part, our wedding with all our fave people, this is just a formality’. But this formality came after a whole lot of hurt from the 2017 marriage equality debate.”

“I was sad that we couldn’t have our families be there for it, all of them so far away. We are lucky that we have so many good friends in Canberra and had a lot of people that came and supported us on the day. Honestly, it’s a relief. It’s a relief because we are now legally married under law, and in no circumstances, such as hospital emergencies, can anyone take that away from us.”

Another couple to tie the knot were prominent marriage equality supporters Christine Forster and Virginia Edwards. Forster, who is a City of Sydney councillor, had been engaged for some time, and planned to hold a ceremony in February this year, whether marriage equality was legal or not. So when legislation was passed in December, it was an added bonus.

Forster campaigned hard for the Yes side in last year’s postal survey, while her brother, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, was one of the strongest No supporters.

Forster

Christine Forster and Virginia Edwards. Photo: Inlighten Photography.

Forster and Edwards shared their wedding day with the ABC’s Australian Story, in the hopes of giving Australians a better understanding of same-sex love.

“I’m really optimistic about the fact that everybody now is starting to understand where we all sit in this new shared future,” Forster told the program.

Even Abbott managed to crack a smile on the day. “It’s a great family occasion, very happy for Chris and Virginia and I’m looking forward to having a new sister-in-law,” he said on his arrival at the wedding.

And it’s not just people who have married in the last six months who have benefitted from the change. Countless same-sex couples who chose to get married overseas before marriage equality became legal now have their unions fully recognised under Australian law.

Cooper

Jason and Cooper Koulias-Amai.

One such couple is Jason and Cooper Koulias-Amai, who met in Sydney in 2011, and legally married in a small ceremony in New Zealand in 2015, before holding an unofficial ceremony in Sydney’s Blue Mountains. The moment same-sex marriage passed Parliament, their marriage was finally officially recognised.

“We decided we didn’t want to wait for the government to catch up with the rest of the world, but of course we had hoped that things would change,” Cooper told Junkee. “Which it did, and during the announcement of the plebiscite on November 14th 2017 with our fellow LGBTQI community and supporters, the results were announced with a resounding YES. Our marriage was going to be recognised by Australia…the emotions we shared with our community was complete elation, joy and relief that so many gay couples and families would finally be equal.”

Six months and thousands of weddings later, it’s safe to say that marriage equality isn’t the end of the world.