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It's a date...couples sign up for December weddings

Michelle Stockwell and Annabel Scholes paid a deposit to their wedding celebrant three years ago.

At the time, the Canberra couple did not think they would have to wait so long to hold the wedding.

“We’ve just been waiting for the law to change,” Ms Stockwell said.

“Now this feels like our chance.”

On Thursday, days after their seventh anniversary and two weeks after the ACT passed Australia’s first same-sex marriage law, the couple gave formal notice of their intent to marry.


Laws allowing same-sex couples to marry in the ACT commenced on Thursday.

Under the act, couples have to give one month’s notice of their wedding by lodging an intent to marry form.

The government said on Thursday that more than 40 couples had already done so.

The first day couples can marry is December 7, despite the ACT government saying earlier this week that it was December 8.

Ms Stockwell and Ms Scholes plan to marry on that first day.

They said they were making arrangements despite a High Court hearing of the federal government’s challenge to the law being scheduled for December 3 and 4.

If the court chooses to overturn the law, no ceremonies will be able to take place.

“We have to think positive,’’ Ms Stockwell said.

‘‘We really want to be married.

‘‘We’d like to have a family.

‘‘We’d like to have children.

‘‘If it does get overturned, we’ll be back the next time.’’

Judy Aulich is the celebrant who will marry Ms Stockwell and Ms Scholes on December 7.

She said 19 couples had already registered with her to marry, from both Canberra and interstate.

Ms Aulich said five of those couples planned to marry on the first Saturday, and three on the Sunday.

‘‘There’s a lot of people who really want to make a point of marrying on the first possible weekend,’’ she said.

‘‘It would be deeply disappointing if the law was overturned.

‘‘I think it would be very much out of kilter with what people in the community want.’’

A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Simon Corbell said the government had contacted 20 celebrants who reported that 42 couples had lodged their intent to marry with them.

But ‘‘this number is being continuously updated as there are 64 registered celebrants in the ACT,’’ the spokeswoman said.


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