Forms filed: First gay couples lodge intention to marry

News SHD First gay couple Daniel Barnett 36 and Daniel Gray-Barnett 39 registering their intent to marry at NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and marriages, Chippendale Saturday the 9th of December 2017 News SHD Picture by Fiona Morris News SHD First gay couple Daniel Barnett 36 and Daniel Gray-Barnett 39 registering their intent to marry with Marriage Officer Nigel Thomas at NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and marriages, Chippendale Saturday the 9th of December 2017 News SHD Picture by Fiona Morris
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History was made inside interview room 12 at the Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages in Chippendale’s Regent Street after a gay couple filed their “intention to marry” – Sydney’s first to do so.

Bang on opening time at 9am, Daniel Gray-Barnett, 36, and his partner, also called Daniel Barnett, 39, walked into the office, and before long had signed and lodged forms, of their intention to marry, an act that was technically against the law just 24 hours earlier.

“We’re just really happy,” said Mr Barnett.

The usual bureaucracy was thrown out the window, with the government office choosing to accept the forms on a Saturday instead of the usually strict Monday-Friday routine.

There was a celebratory atmosphere with the grey office festooned with Christmas tinsel, but also with the rainbow flag – the symbol of LGBTQ pride and a backdrop to the “yes” campaign.

The customer service officer witnessing the signatures, perhaps violating the usual dress code, was himself draped in garish rainbow colours for the occasion.

The pair said they made the appointment to lodge their forms on a whim on Friday afternoon, and it never crossed their mind until this morning that they might be among the first in Sydney to do so.

“This morning I was ironing my shirt and turned to Daniel and said ‘Oh my god there are going to be media there’,” Mr Barnett said.

“Maybe I should have gone on a juice diet or something.”

Mr Barnett said the ability to marry legally in Australia, was almost unthinkable when he came out at the age of 17.

“We can hold hands and walk down the street, people don’t bat an eyelid, whereas when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t dare to do that, unless I was on Oxford Street,” he said.

Mr Gray-Barnett didn’t wait for the new laws to propose, popping the question four years ago on a cliffside bejewelled with candles in Bali.

“We thought we deserve to have a wedding just like my other brothers and sisters,” he said

Minutes after signing their forms a second couple – Valeria Ballantyne, 48 and her partner Clare Jacobs, 31 – walked through the doors of the office, signed their forms, and became the first female same-sex couple from Sydney to lodge their intention to marry.

The pair are planning a registry marriage which, after being together for seven years, they considered just a formality. But they also believed the act of lodging the forms reflected the great strides attitudes had taken from their childhood, when they were “just trying not to get bashed”.

“Being a child of the ’80s there was so much more that we had to fight for, I never thought that we’d reach this level of acceptance so quickly,” Ms Ballantyne said.

“For my generation, I neve thought this would be a possibility.”

In NSW, couples have to lodge their intention to marry at least a month before their wedding date. The first weddings are expected to take place on January 9.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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