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Australia Couples Marry Moments After Midnight: See the Sweet Photos

Craig Burns fiance Luke SullivanAustralian Commonwealth Games sprinter Craig Burns (L) and fiance Luke Sullivan (R) share a moment before signing their marriage certificate after exchanging vows at their marriage ceremony at Summergrove Estate, New South Wales on January 9, 2018. Australia officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after the law was passed on December 9, 2017, with the overwhelming backing of the Federal Parliament. / AFP PHOTO / Patrick HAMILTON (Photo credit should read PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty Images)

What a way to ring in the new year! A number of same-sex couples in Australia said “I do” just after midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 9, in celebration of the nation’s overwhelming Parliamentary vote in December to legalize gay marriage.

In Australia, it is required of all couples hoping to marry to provide one month’s notice of their intention to marry, making Tuesday the first day that couples could officially exchange vows at the altar.

(The notice period was waived for some couples who have married in recent weeks, on account of exceptional circumstances including a partner’s terminal illness and overseas-based relatives booking flights to Australia before the official start date for the new law was known.)

“It’s another way to show your love and appreciation of your partner in front of the people in your life,” 29-year-old sprinter Craig Burns told The Associated Press of his wedding to partner Luke Sullivan.

Australian Commonwealth Games sprinter Craig Burns (R) and fiance Luke Sullivan (L) share a moment after signing their marriage certificate after exchanging vows at their marriage ceremony at Summergrove Estate, New South Wales on January 9, 2018.
Australia officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after the law was passed on December 9, 2017, with the overwhelming backing of the Federal Parliament. / AFP PHOTO / Patrick HAMILTON (Photo credit should read PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty Images)

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 09: Craig Burns and Luke Sullivan celebrate during their wedding ceremony at Summergrove Estate on January 9, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Another couple, Kelly and Sam Pilgrim-Byrne, legalized their 24-year lesbian relationship in a midnight ceremony on the steps of the Western Australia state legislature.

“It was never anything we considered because it was never anything that was available to us, so we never had those dreams about what would our wedding look like, what would we do, who would we invite, where would it be—we never, ever considered it because we never thought that it would happen in our lifetime,” Kelly told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 09: Lisa Goldsmith and Gillian Brady during the wedding ceremony at The Court on January 9, 2018 in Perth, Australia. Couples across Australia wed in midnight ceremonies as the Australian Marriage Act legalising same-sex marriage took effect on January 9. (Photo by Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 16: Same-sex couple Amy Laker and Lauren Price say their vows on December 16, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Lauren and Amy are the first gay couple to be legally married in Australia, after same-sex marriage was legalised on 9 December 2017. The women – who have been engaged for two years – had originally planned on having a civil union, but were granted an exemption to the 30-day notice period to make their union legally binding under the new laws. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images)

In November, the government put out a nationwide postal survey asking Australians if they wanted marriage equality; an overwhelming 62 percent majority voted that they did. Australia and Ireland are the only two countries that have put the question of gay marriage up for a popular vote.

For Lainey Carmichael, 51, and Roz Kitschke, 46, getting married at their home in the town of Franklin in the island state of Tasmania before 65 of their closest loved ones made the whole ordeal worth it.

Wedding guest and longtime marriage equality advocate Rodney Croome told NBC News, “This morning’s wedding marked the start of a new chapter in the lives of the two brides but also a new chapter in the life of the nation.”

See the sweet photos above.