Same sex marriage ceremonies take place in the Hunter a month after legislation changes

THE thunder may have been rolling outside early on Tuesday morning, but inside the walls of 48 Watt Street, a Hunter couple was promising to weather any storm together.

Rebecca Hickson and Sarah Turnbull were one of the first same sex couples in the Hunter to marry under the new Marriage Act, tying the knot with an 8am ceremony in Newcastle, a month after the legislation was passed.

They had vowed to love and support each other in a commitment ceremony in October, 2014.

But Ms Hickson said it felt good to finally be able to say they were married, “for real.”

“We’re so excited,” Ms Hickson said over a celebratory glass of champagne after the ceremony.

“It’s finally a reality,” Ms Turnbull added.

“Now it’s real. It has always been real to us, but now it is really recognised.”

Done deal: Sarah Turnbull and Rebecca Hickson got married, officially, in front of family and friends at an intimate ceremony at 48 Watt Street, Newcastle, at 8am on Tuesday. They were one of three same sex couples to tie the knot at the venue that day.

Done deal: Sarah Turnbull and Rebecca Hickson got married, officially, in front of family and friends at an intimate ceremony at 48 Watt Street, Newcastle, at 8am on Tuesday. They were one of three same sex couples to tie the knot at the venue that day.

The couple were declared “wife and wife” by Monty King, of the Sassy Celebrants collective, who officiated the ceremony.

“After much arm-twisting, gnashing of teeth and a whole bunch of bullshit, marriage became a thing that anyone who loved each other could enter into,” Mr King said at the intimate gathering.

“And finally, we have marriage equality for everybody.

“And now that I’ve sledged the government… Malcolm is not your uncle, is he Sarah?”

Until the new Marriage Act legislation passed, celebrants were required to say: “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and woman.”

So enthusiastic cheering resounded through the room during the ceremony as Mr King declared marriage to be the union of “two people,” to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

“Before this moment, you have been many things to one another. Acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher,” Mr King said.

“Shortly, you should say a few words that will take you across the threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same. For, after today, you say to the world, ‘This is my wife.’”

Ms Turnbull’s grandmother, Betty Turnbull, said she was delighted for the couple, and incredibly proud.

Wife and wife: Sarah Turnbull and Rebecca Hickson walked down the aisle together.

Wife and wife: Sarah Turnbull and Rebecca Hickson walked down the aisle together.

Seeing her granddaughter so happy was “what it was all about,” and it had brought a tear to her eye.

“It’s something they should be able to do,” Mrs Turnbull said.

“Things change a lot over the years, don’t they? And it’s their chance now. That’s what I think anyway.

“Things change, and that’s how it is. We have to accept it and let people have their time.”

Adam Turnbull said he was pleased for his sister.

“She has waited a long time for this, and she’ll be very happy to get this done and enjoy what my wife and I and our children have all enjoyed.

“It will be good for her.”

Ms Hickson previously told the Newcastle Herald they wanted to set their relationship, and commitment to one another, in stone.

“We wanted to be a part of history, and to be one of the first couples in Australia to be married under the new Marriage Act,” she said.

A host of photographers, hair and make up artists, stylists, videographers, the venue and the celebrants all donated their time and services for the three same sex ceremonies held at 48 Watt Street on Tuesday.

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