Couples Descend on Sydney Marriage Registry to be First to Lodge Intention to Wed

People have descended on the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages which is open today to allow same-sex couples the opportunity to lodge a one-month notice of intention to get married.

The same-sex marriage bill has now been signed into law, and today is the first day couples can give the compulsory one-month intention to wed, meaning they will be able to marry from January 9, 2018.

Marriages which occurred overseas are also now formally recognised in Australia.

The registry’s Ben Finn said extra staff have been rostered on today at the registry.

“With the changes to the Commonwealth Marriage Act we anticipated there would be an increase in people wanting to lodge their notice of intent to marry and get married at the registry so we have opened today with that likelihood of a spike in demand,” he said.

Usually registry offices are only open on Saturdays to conduct civil wedding ceremonies.

Daniel Gray-Barnett, 36, and Daniel Barnett, 39, signed their intention to marry at the Chippendale office in Sydney’s inner-west at 9.10am.

Daniel Gray-Anderson and Daniel Barnett

Mr Barnett said they have wanted to marry for many years.

“We met in Sydney. We pretty much… love at first sight and we have literally been together ever since,” he said.

The pair, who got engaged four years ago but had a ceremony three years ago, said they were feeling overwhelmed today and “didn’t expect this”.

“We are really happy to be on the first day,” Mr Gray-Barnett said.

“We just thought we’d get it done straight away,” Mr Barnett said.

The couple were hopeful they would see the day same-sex marriage was legalised but did not think it would be this soon.

‘Never thought it would be possible’

Clare Jacobs and Valenia Ballantyne

Clare Jacobs, 31, and Valenia Ballantyne, 48, lodged their intention to marry this morning and also said they did not expect society to reach this level of acceptance so quickly.

“[It feels like]….this shit is real,” Ms Ballantyne said.

“I never though it would be a possibility… never something I even considered.”

Ms Ballantyne said being a child of the 80s, there was so much more the LGBTI community had to fight for, and it was more about just surviving.

“Let’s not get bashed…. which was a bit of a feature back then,” she said.

The pair said they came to the registry on the first day because they “wanted it done ASAP”.

“Got to get it done as soon as it happens,” Ms Jacobs said.

“Make the most of it…. it’s finally here.”

The couple, who got engaged last May, had a ceremony last year and said they are excited to soon be married by law.

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