Gay marriage becomes law in Australia; weddings start in Jan

Gay marriage in Australia became a law Friday as the prime minister gained a final signature on a bill hours after it was overwhelming endorsed by Parliament, and the nation started planning weddings that can take place in a month.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull traveled to Government House where Governor-General Peter Cosgrove signed the bill into law on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, Australia’s constitutional head of state.

Cosgrove’s signature makes gay marriage legal in Australia from Saturday, when same-sex couples who wed overseas will be recognized as married under Australian law. Couples who intend to marry must give a calendar-month notice, making gay weddings legal on Jan. 9, Turnbull said.

Neville Wills, 98, plans to marry his partner of 39 years, Ian Fenwicke, 74, next month.

Some practical reasons to marry become pressing with age. Relatives have contested wills that left estates to same-sex partners, and gays and lesbians want rights to access and medical consultation when a partner is hospitalized.

“The reason is to have a legal relationship that’s not in any way challenged — and, of course, we love each other,” Wills said. “We’ll get the legal relationship straightened out in January. Call it a wedding if you like, I’m not romantic,” he added.

The Attorney-General’s Department on Friday published online a new form for couples to announce their intention to marry with tick-box…

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