Australia: First same-sex marriages take place under special dispensation

Wedding bells have rung for some same-sex couples this weekend after special dispensation was given for them to get married without the required 30-day waiting period.

Lauren Price, 31, and Amy Laker, 29, exchanged vows in Sydney on Saturday after getting the waiver because their families were traveling from Wales to attend what was to have been their commitment ceremony.

Amy and Elise Mc Donald, likewise were given a financial exemption to marry in Melbourne’s Carlton Gardens with their family flying in from overseas.

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick and Lyn Hawkins, will wed on Sunday after being together for 40 years.

They were given dispensation as Hawkins, 85, is in the final stages of her battle against ovarian cancer.

“Anne has been very supportive through all this and marrying her, it’s Anne’s way of saying ‘let’s finally do this’,” Hawkins told Perth Now.

On Monday, Cas Willow, 53, and Heather Richards, 56, will get married at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where Willow is receiving treatment for breast cancer, which has spread to her brain.

“It means our relationship won’t just be tolerated, it will be accepted,” Richards said.

January 9 was expected to be the first day of same-sex weddings after the minting of fresh laws requiring that couples give four weeks notice, but some couples have been given permission to tie the knot sooner.

Melbourne couple Megan Stapleton and Stephanie Dybal have also been given the green light to wed before 9 January.

The couple had planned a non-binding wedding for 21 December and were granted approval to go ahead with a legal wedding on the same date.

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