Two men have become the first gay couple to marry in a legally recognised civil partnership ceremony in Australia.

Warren McGaw and Chris Rumble, who have been together for 20 years, tied the klnpt on Tuesday outside the Old Parliament House rose gardens in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

“We thought we’d take this opportunity not only for gay couples Australia-wide… but just for human rights. I think the majority of Australians are behind us,” MacGaw told ABC News.

The ACT defied the federal government which has repeatedly vetoed legislation that sought to legally recognise civil union ceremonies because they were too similar to marriage.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s federal government follows a policy that a legally binding marriage type of ceremony can only take place between a man and woman and threatened to veto the law which was passed last month.

Now it appears that, following some minor changes to the legislation, Rudd may not quash the pro-gay law after all. A compromise has been reached that will continue to allow the ceremonies to take place. Couples wishing to have a civil union ceremony must now register to do so.

Critics, however, have questioned if the changes will in effect result in the ceremonies not being legally binding.

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