Sydney Mayor performs gay wedding for couple who tied knot at British consulate
Despite same-sex marriage remaining banned in Australia, Sydney’s Lord Mayor has performed a same-sex wedding ceremony for a couple who tied the knot at the British consulate.
Australia’s anti-gay marriage former PM Tony Abbott plotted to stall same-sex marriage earlier this year when it was set to come to a vote, instead proposing a plebiscite (public vote) to be held in 2017.
Though Mr Abbott has since been ousted as Prime Minister, his replacement Malcolm Turnbull is sticking to the plebiscite plan – meaning same-sex couples are still banned from marrying.
That did not dissuade the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, however – with Ms Moore marrying gay couple Matthew McCarron and Edmundo Apon, who tied the knot at the British consulate last month.
Mr McCarron and Mr Apon have been together for 15 years and have a six-month old son – but are not legally recognised as married under Australian law.
However, they were eligible to marry inside the British consulate as Mr McCarron has British heritage.
The Lord Mayor performed a ceremony on Sydney’s Observatory Hill, and the couple were later officially married inside the cnsulate.
Under the UK’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, weddings can take place in embassies, consulates and high commissions in a number of overseas countries, even if the country itself doesn’t recognise them.
Mr McCarron told the Australian Daily Mail of the Lord Mayor’s involvement: “She’s a pretty strong advocate for same sex marriage so she was very pleased I think and very happy to be involved in the event. It was the first wedding she had officiated at.”
Of the special ceremony, he added: “We actually had the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir perform a flash-mob at the start of the ceremony.
“We had 45 members of the choir dressed as wedding guests dispersed through the crowd as we arrived and they progressively started to sing and came together and did a performance.”
Update: This article was amended to clarify that the Lord Mayor officiated a symbolic ceremony in Sydney, and not the pair’s official marriage within the consulate. Only UK consular officers can perform same-sex marriages and conversions from civil partnership inside British consulates.
More: Australia, Australia, civil partnership, civil union, Clover Moore, equal marriage, Gay, gay weddings, lesbian, lesbian wedding, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, mayor, same sex weddings, Sydney, Union, wedding