Australia's First Gay Wedding Michael and Ben Gresham-Petchell (Photo - Mark Morgan)
Australia's First Gay Wedding Michael and Ben Gresham-Petchell (Photo - Mark Morgan)
2 min read

More than 3,375 same-sex couples have been married in Australia during the first six months of the new marriage laws, representing 5.4% of the total marriages across the same period.

Statistics obtained by Gay Nation from all six states and two territories for the period from when the law was enacted until July showed that 1,779 female same-sex couples were married, 1,589 male same-sex couples and 12 couples where one or more person identified as unspecified/indeterminate/intersex.

The Australian Parliament amended the Marriage Act in December 2017 to allow the marriage of same-sex couples following a voluntary postal plebiscite which overwhelmingly saw the Australian public vote in favour of marriage equality.


New South Wales is the state with the most same-sex marriages registered during the period with 1,134 (600 males, 534 females) ahead of Victoria on 837 (386 m, 444f, 7i), Queensland 615 (242m, 373f), Western Australia 345 (118m, 222f, 5i), South Australia 287 (183m, 104f) and Tasmania 70 (23m, 47f).

Australian Capital Territory registered 61 marriages (21m, 40f) and Northern Territory with 26 (11m, 15f).

South Australia had the highest rate of same-sex marriages against all marriages with 8.2% while Victoria had the lowest rate at 4.4%.

Marriage Interest Is Strong

Sydney Marriage celebrant Lisa Parker said she has been contacted by roughly 15 to 20 same-sex couples across the six months but hasn’t been surprised by the interest.

“Same-sex couples have always come to me for commitment ceremonies; it’s just now that we can finally make things official,” said Parker.

“I’ve got many couples that were always planning a celebration, but others who have been inspired to book a wedding, some after 50 years together.”

Celebrant Lisa Parker marrying Michael and Ben Gresham-Petchell
Celebrant Lisa Parker marrying Michael and Ben Gresham-Petchell (Photo – Mark Morgan)

Parker was the celebrant for one of the country’s first gay weddings, promoted by Gay Nation and held in Sydney on January 12.

Michael Petchell and Benjamin Gresham were announced winners of a competition to win a free wedding and had less than a month to prepare for the wedding at historic Pier One Sydney and Zest Waterfront Venues, The Spit.

Lisa Parker said she hasn’t seen a marked increase in her business due to the marriage laws changing mainly because she has always “married” same-sex couples in commitment ceremonies before the law was changed.

“The amount of business is the same for me personally, it’s just the number of official weddings has increased.”

Michael and Ben Gresham-Petchell at their reception at Zest Waterfront Venues, The Spit
Michael and Ben Gresham-Petchell at their reception at Zest Waterfront Venues, The Spit (Photo – Mark Morgan)

Compared to the Kiwis

Comparing to the first six months of same-sex marriages in New Zealand, Australia’s rate of 5.4% was way above that of the Kiwis 1.7%.

Same-sex marriage was made legal in New Zealand in August 2013 and over the past five years, the rate has increased to 4.2% during 2017.

Not surprisingly, overseas residents marrying in New Zealand has seen a much higher percentage across the five years growing from 6.5% in 2013 to 18.9% in 2017. 960 same-sex marriages were recorded in New Zealand in 2017.

Note: All states & territories reported figures during the six month period with slightly different start and end dates. These figures are also only approximate as it only represents those marriages that have been registered with each state’s Births, Deaths and Marriages departments and some paperwork may still be arriving from marriage celebrants before these stats were collated.

Last Updated on Jul 24, 2018

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