7 Dec 2013

Australia's first same sex marriages take place

2:06 pm on 7 December 2013

The first same-sex marriages in Australia have taken place in Canberra where the Australian Capital Territory's Marriage Equality Act took effect on Saturday.

Since the ACT passed its law in October, 47 same-sex couples have registered an intention to marry, with up to 20 ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, the earliest opportunity.

Couples from across Australia converged on the capital on Saturday, AAP reports.

But the Commonwealth has already challenged the validity of the law in the High Court, with a ruling due on 12 December.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher sent a message to people who oppose same-sex marriage: "the world will go on". She said the community response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Regardless of possible opposition from the High Court, Ms Gallagher said the ACT legislation has started the ball rolling.

The Australian Christian Lobby spoke against the law, forecasting "big social consequences", while Australian Marriage Equality director Rodney Croome said Saturday's ceremonies were about love, commitment and family, not politics or law.