Tasmanian equality activists have congratulated Australia’s first same-sex married couples who tied the knot today under the ACT’s marriage equality law, saying it highlights the opportunity Tasmania missed to become the first place in Australia to allow same-sex marriages.

Andrew Badcock, convener for Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality said that regardless of the outcome of the High Court challenge against the ACT’s law, marriage equality has become a reality this weekend for the many Australians who have been waiting years for the reforms.

“The ACT has sent a clear message to the state and federal governments – that all Australian couples should be treated equally under the law regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.”

Mr Badcock said that today highlighted the missed opportunity Tasmania had of becoming the first place in Australia to allow same-sex marriages.

“Many Tasmanians now have to decide whether to wait until their home state allows them to marry, or fly to the ACT and marry away from family and friends.

“I hope Tasmania’s politicians are watching intently to how important this reform is for couples and families, and will move forward with the reform if the High Court allows it.”

Laws recognising same-sex marriages in Tasmania were narrowly defeated last year by a vote of 6-8 in the Tasmanian Legislative Council, and recent attempts to examine new information brought to light on the constitutionally of the bill was defeated by the same margin.

Rodney Croome, national director of Australian Marriage Equality, highlighted that today is an historic step because for the first time in Australia same-sex couples have the freedom to marry, and have their marriage recognised by their government.

“I know many Tasmanians will be sending best wishes to the newly-weds”, Mr Croome said.

“Today represents an important new chapter in their lives and an important new chapter in the life of our nation.”

Following a High Court challenge to the ACT’s same-sex marriage legislation by the Federal Government, married same-sex couples in the ACT are waiting to see if the legislation is upheld next week.

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