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

Michelle Stockwell and Annabel Scholes with their dog Beau.

Michelle Stockwell and Annabel Scholes with their dog Beau. Photo: Jay Cronan

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.


  • A sensible person would wait until the High Court case is heard, as a host of constitutional lawyers have advised that the ACT legislation is likely to be overturned.

    Date and time
    November 08, 2013, 7:22AM
    • A sensible person would marry as soon as possible. Equality of marriage is just a matter of time. A high court case is a waste of taxypayers' money. Go the ACT!

      Date and time
      November 08, 2013, 10:08AM
    • Working Mum, its not going to be very sensible when those false marriages are annulled.
      As for the High Court case, it is never a waste of taxpayer's money to defend our Constitution.
      If anyone is to blame for such waste however, it is the zealots in the ACT who pushed this poor legislation through despite the sensible advice of constitutional lawyers and Marriage Equality Australia.

      Date and time
      November 08, 2013, 10:23AM
    • Working Mum - I agree with you 100%

      Date and time
      November 08, 2013, 1:37PM
    • I just feel sorry for those gay people who now have to admit to their current partner that actually they don't want to live happily ever after together for ever and ever... but you've provided a good excuse for them to hold off!

      Date and time
      November 08, 2013, 2:15PM
    • The 'waste of money' you so self-righteously lament, sense, can be laid fairly at the feet of the federal government. They're the ones, after all, who are mounting the high court challenge. I suspect the ACT government would be perfectly happy just to get on with the job.

      Date and time
      November 08, 2013, 3:13PM
    • Why would it be sensible to wait? Same sex couples married in California knowing there would be a challenge to the laws. There was a temporary overturning but the laws were subsequently found to be valid.

      Date and time
      November 08, 2013, 4:06PM
    • The gay activists are deliberately confusing the Australians acceptance of equal legal rights for all with the concept of marriage. I am sure the majority accepts the guy/lesbians rights for a civil union but I am equally certain that the majority will reject a concept of marriage which involves two persons of the same sex. When I got married it was based on the marriage definition created by our ancestors thousands years ago and on which the human civilization has developed, the marriage which is made of a husband and a wife. I feel very strongly about it and expect that my feelings be respected and taken into consideration when the decisions are made, but I am sure I will be abused endlessly by the same people who cry loudly about their rights but ignore the feelings of others.

      Date and time
      November 08, 2013, 4:51PM
    • @john ... so you got married under the basis that your now wife had no day in the matter, and that she was your effective slave, and that you could use her and abuse her however you liked?

      So pleased the women in my family never met the likes of you!

      (ps. Since we are talking thousands if years, what then of the same-sex marriages back then? Or don't they count?)

      Date and time
      November 09, 2013, 12:21PM
    • Interestingly, John, I got married and realised that what makes it a marriage has nothing to do with what gender the partners are. The only thing that changed when I got married is that my friends and family saw my resolve and long term intent and that the state treated (a teeny little bit) differently under law. Anything in my relationship that depended on gender changed not one little bit.

      You, like most of the other anti gay marriage crowd, don't have a problem with gay marriage. You have a problem with gay people. At least have the guts to admit what you really mean.

      Date and time
      November 10, 2013, 5:32PM

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