2 couples say ‘I do’ in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

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Same-sex couple Amy Laker and Lauren Price say their vows on December 16, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Lauren and Amy are the first gay couple to be legally married in Australia, after same-sex marriage was legalised on 9 December 2017. The women - who have been engaged for two years - had originally planned on having a civil union, but were granted an exemption to the 30-day notice period to make their union legally binding under the new laws. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images)

SYDNEY — Two female couples tied the knot in Australia’s first same-sex weddings under new legislation allowing gay marriages.

Jan. 9 had been expected to be the first possible date for same-sex weddings due to a four-week waiting period since the landmark law was passed. But the two couples were married in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday after being granted permission to waive the notice period.

Lauren Price, 31, and Amy Laker, 29, exchanged vows in Sydney because their families had to travel from Wales in the U.K. to attend what was to have been their commitment ceremony.

Amy and Elise McDonald — who coincidentally already had the same last name — were given an exemption to marry in Melbourne since their relatives also had flown in from overseas.

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick and Lyn Hawkins were due to 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 website Perth Now.

On Monday, Cas Willow, 53, and Heather Richards, 56, will marry in Melbourne. Willow is receiving treatment for breast cancer, which has spread to her brain.

The couple, who have been together for 17 years, say marriage will make their last precious few weeks or days together “complete.”

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

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