I've received an email from a no-doubt well meaning reader headed
I notice your website hasn’t celebrated the marriage of the ACT chief minister
Their ABC and others are all over this wedding. Apparently theirs is a better or more interesting marriage than everyone else’s because he married a dude.
Good luck to the boys, I hope they're very happy together, just like they appear to have been for the past 20 years they've been partners and the past 10 years they've been formally recognised in an ACT civil partnership. They've had shared property rights, access to superannuation and death benefits and all the other legal rights that came with that civil recognition. The only difference now is that - well I can't think of any.
Australia's first openly gay government leader, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, has married his long-term partner Anthony Toms.
- Mr Barr and Mr Toms met 20 years ago at a gay and lesbian festival in Canberra
- The ACT Government twice passed laws to give same-sex couples the rights of married couples, but the legislation was overturned
- The Federal Parliament eventually legislated to allow same-sex marriage two years ago
The "small family" celebration was held Wednesday at the historic Longworth House in Newcastle, where Mr Toms, a tailor and fashion designer, is from.
In a social media post this morning, Mr Barr thanked the Australians who voted "yes" in the 2017 marriage-law survey, which led to the Federal Parliament legislating to allow same-sex couples to marry.
"Anthony and I married yesterday on our 20th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of our ACT civil partnership," he wrote.
Mr Barr and Mr Toms first met at a gay and lesbian festival in Canberra, and celebrated their civil partnership in 2009 with a ceremony at the National Library of Australia.
Struggle for marriage rights
The wedding was also a culmination of the ACT Labor Party's battle to give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples.
The ACT Government, which Mr Barr now leads, twice passed legislation to do this — first to allow "civil unions" in 2006 and then to allow same-sex marriage in 2013 — but Commonwealth intervention killed off both of the laws.
On the day Mr Barr became Chief Minister in 2014, he said to the Legislative Assembly:
The year before, when the Assembly passed its short-lived marriage laws, Mr Barr wept as he reflected on the struggle for equal rights.
"Today, the sacrifice, the suffering, the struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concern of gay and lesbian Canberrans, their parents and their families find a voice and find a champion in this Assembly … I said I would not cry this time," he said through tears.