Ian Hunter, social inclusion minister in the state government of South Australia, and his partner of 22 years Leith Semmens, have flown from Adelaide to tie the knot in Jun, a small Spanish town near Granada.
Australian lawmakers have rejected efforts over recent months to legalise same-sex marriages. Spain has allowed such marriages since 2005, though cases of two foreigners coming to Spain to marry are rare.
“We’re not getting married because of any political campaign. We’re getting married to express our love for each other, as our friends can do back home,” said Hunter, 52.
“It’s about being finally able to express my love in front of the people who are important to me.”
Seventeen family members and friends from Australia went to Spain to witness the wedding in Jun’s Pabellon de Las Artes, an arts venue inspired by Andalusia’s Arab-era architecture.
Jun’s mayor Jose Antonio Rodriguez Salas — a vocal supporter of the right to gay marriage — helped the couple settle the complicated paperwork necessary to marry in Spain.
Rodriguez said that since 2005 he had carried out the ceremony for many gay couples, but this was the first time he had done so for one of which both members were from overseas.