The Bega Courthouse has welcomed its first same-sex marriage since it became legal on December 9, 2017.
On Friday, April 13, new locals Michelle Cruse and Victoria Dey were officially wed by court registrar John Chalker.
It came on the fifth anniversary of the couple’s civil partnership ceremony they enjoyed with family and friends in Adelaide.
When approached about a potential “happy story” for the Bega District News about their day, Ms Cruse said “why not, we’re rather happy about it!”
The couple has been living in Bega since December, after Ms Cruse picked up work at the South East Regional Hospital.
She said they had been living in remote Western Australia when the national marriage equality survey result was announced and began planning for a service to make their union “official”.
Upon moving to Bega, they decided to lodge their forms with the Bega Courthouse, timing the marriage to coincide with their fifth anniversary.
Ms Ley and Ms Cruse have been together for nine years.
“This is not about marriage equality, it’s about us having equal protections under the law as other married couples,” Ms Cruse said on Friday.
“We want the same fair and equitable treatment as anyone else. Without this legal protection there is no guarantee of fairness if something were to happen to either of us.
“You can always say ‘my partner’, but saying ‘my wife’ or ‘my spouse’ carries much more weight,” she said.
“We’re not that politically active. We just thought ‘yay, now we can finally do it properly’.
“It’s just wonderful to now have legal and social recognition, and the legal security a marriage brings.”