A gay couple have tied the knot in Australia – even though the country is yet to legalise marriage equality.
James Hanley and Dan Waknin have taken advantage of a legal diplomatic loophole – meaning they could wed despite in the British consulate in front of their loved ones last Friday (February 5).
As Mr Hanley currently possesses dual citizenship – he is both a Australian and British citizen – he was able to marry his partner of two-and-a-half years at the British consulate in Sydney.
The pair made the decision to wed after officials advised the pair they could do so for for $600AUD (£294).
The newlyweds shared the delight following their marriage – which although recognised under British law, will not be by the Australian government,
“It was fantastic – it feels quite surreal,” Mr Hanley told the MailOnline.
We’re very lucky very fortunate that I have the passport that we had the opportunity.
“I was really, really shocked that it’s legitimate and you can do it and there are so few people that have gone and done it.”
Mr Hanley now hopes to see the Australian government legalise same-sex marriage so their relationship can also be recognised legally in the country.
“For me, it’s more just a surprise that it in 2016 and it’s still a debated issue,” he said.
“There are so many bigger issues out there than this.
“Society and the world is slowly coming around to it – a lot more people these days are very open to it and legalising it will be a big step in eliminating homophobia in the next generation.”
Despite an overwhelming majority of the Australian public supporting equal marriage and a majority of MPs in favour, the current Liberal-led Coalition government refuses to put the issue to a free Parliamentary vote due to deep political divisions.
Instead, the government is planing a marriage plebiscite (public vote) after the election in 2017 – a measure which has been derided as costly, bureaucratic and pointless, given anti-gay marriage MPs insist they will not consider the vote binding either way.