One year on: 119 couples wed in first year of same-sex marriage
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One year on: 119 couples wed in first year of same-sex marriage

In the year since the same-sex marriage postal survey result was announced, 119 same-sex couples have tied the knot in the ACT.

According to Access Canberra, 71 of those couples were women and 48 were men. None of the couples married in the ACT declared if they identified as a gender other than male or female.

In the 2016 census, 1205 same-sex couples declared they were living together in the ACT, meaning 10 per cent of couples chose to get married in the first year they were given the opportunity.

Queen B, Mad B, and Vanity Wilde will be celebrating the anniversary of the marriage equality Yes vote this weekend at Braddon.

Queen B, Mad B, and Vanity Wilde will be celebrating the anniversary of the marriage equality Yes vote this weekend at Braddon.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who campaigned strongly for same-sex marriage, congratulated the newly married Canberrans.

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"What great happiness this has no doubt brought to these 119 couples, their friends and family, and there will be many more celebrations to come in the years ahead," Mr Barr said.

The first same-sex wedding in the ACT took place on January 13, after the legislation was passed and the one month notification period ended.

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There was no rush to tie the knot straight after same-sex marriage was legalised, with the months of September and October recording the highest number of same-sex weddings, with 19 and 16 respectively.

Many couples took advantage of the warmer weather for their nuptials, with February, March and April also recording higher numbers of same-sex weddings.

And while it's been 12 months of smaller parties for the couples and their families and friends, it was a year kicked off by the biggest street party the capital has ever seen.

As news of the Yes vote spread across the nation on the afternoon of November 15, 2017, more than 6000 Canberrans downed tools, abandoned their Wednesday night plans and headed to Braddon to literally dance in the street.

Canberra DJ and events manager Danny Corvini played in the courtyard of Hopscotch that night alongside Sydney's foremost lesbian DJ Sveta. As beats pumped out into the street, more and more Canberrans grabbed a drink and joined the party.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr at last year's street party in Braddon celebrating the same-sex marriage postal survey result.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr at last year's street party in Braddon celebrating the same-sex marriage postal survey result.Credit:Rohan Thomson

It was "a night I'll never ever forget", Corvini said, so much so that he approached 2017 party organiser Jacob White in March and convinced him an anniversary celebration was essential.

"You don't have an event like that and let it go - you don't just do it once," Corvini said.

"It was a bona fide street party and - having lived in Sydney and Melbourne - the fact that we've got a street party is just gold.

"People take years trying to build up an event like that."

Mad B, Yes!Fest organiser G Guthrie, Queen B, and Vanity Wilde at Bentspoke Brewery in Braddon, who have crafted a raspberry beer called the Frenzy to celebrate the anniversary of the marriage equality vote.

Mad B, Yes!Fest organiser G Guthrie, Queen B, and Vanity Wilde at Bentspoke Brewery in Braddon, who have crafted a raspberry beer called the Frenzy to celebrate the anniversary of the marriage equality vote. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The ACT Government's Office for LGBTIQ Affairs agreed to an anniversary party and the result is Yes!Fest, due to take over Lonsdale Street this Saturday night and well into the wee hours of Sunday morning.

DJ Sveta is back, bringing a busload of queer performers with her down the Hume Highway, while Corvini, as the Yes!Fest creative director, has curated a cast of local and national performers for the celebration.

Yes!Fest is a family-friendly event during the day with a Latin dance takeover, a poetry slam, roving performers and food trucks, while the night will explode in a frenzy of glitter and false eyelashes as 10 drag queens perform for partygoers.

Braddon's Bentspoke brewery is on board with a brand new Yes!Beer; raspberry wheat beer infused with a rainbow of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.

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"We're not trying to recreate last year's event - that would be impossible - but we do want to capture the joy and the energy that came with the Yes vote," Corvini said.

"It's a real celebration of queer love and equality. Less of a political event and more of a cultural event and party.

"We want to make Canberra the most LGBTQI-friendly city in the world so we're building a calendar of events. And Yes!Fest will be the milestone event."

Yes!Fest, Saturday November 17, Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Events kick off at 3pm. Free. Full program of events at www.yesfestcbr.com

Sally Whyte is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service.

Bree Element is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times

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