Canberrans Margaret Penrose Clark and Anne-Marie Delahunt tie the knot, officiated by celebrant Judy Aulich. Photo: Jay Cronan
No sooner had marriage celebrant Judy Aulich finished her 11th same-sex ceremony in three days, she was driving to the marriage registry office to lodge the paperwork.
Even if this Thursday's High Court ruling on the ACT's Marriage Equality Act was to invalidate Monday's marriage of Margaret Penrose Clarke and Anne-Marie Delahunt, Ms Aulich wanted to make sure they had a lasting memento.
While it is not known exactly how many couples will have been married by Thursday, 47 lodged their intention to marry in time for their ceremonies to go ahead. The Office of Regulatory Services has guaranteed all couples will receive their official marriage certificates.
During Monday's ceremony at her home in north Canberra, Ms Aulich joked these certificates could become valuable and sold on eBay ''if your superannuation dries up''.
She said that despite the good humour at many of the services, there was some sense of foreboding in case the High Court ruled in favour of the Commonwealth's challenge to ACT law. ''That truly will be deeply disappointing,'' she said.
''All couples understand the risk they are taking but it's important for them to get married at the first possible opportunity.''
Ms Aulich, who has worked as a celebrant since 2007, feels ''very privileged'' to have been involved in the weekend's weddings.
Since Saturday morning, she has celebrated 13 weddings, including 11 same-sex services. ''It's a lovely thing to be exhausted over,'' she said.
The weddings at the weekend had been ''highly charged with emotion'', Ms Aulich said.
''All weddings are joyous, but the weddings at the weekend were exceptionally joyous because of the build-up.
''Same-sex couples want the same rite of passage that everyone else takes for granted.''
Ms Penrose Clarke described herself as a ''very proud Canberran'' and said regardless of Thursday's ruling, she and her wife would have a bigger celebration in two weeks when more family and friends would be able to attend.
■ The Senate has rejected a push for a referendum on same-sex marriage.
Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan proposed a Senate inquiry into a referendum on same-sex marriage. While Labor supported the inquiry, the motion was defeated by the combined forces of the Greens and the Coalition.
Same-sex marriage advocates welcomed the defeat of the motion, saying a referendum would have been divisive.