Jan. 9 (UPI) — Australia’s first same-sex marriage ceremonies took place at the stroke of midnight Monday, as the new law making such unions legal took effect.

In November, almost 62 percent of the country’s voters favored legalizing same-sex marriage, which led the way for the the government to pass the new law. Australia became the 26th country to recognize same-sex marriage.

Some couples returned to the site Monday night where they had their commitment ceremonies a year earlier.

“To be able to come back here and redo our vows and actually make it legal and finally have equality in Australia is amazing,” Deanne Ribeiro said after legally marrying her wife, Diana.

“We’re just so excited to be equal like everyone else in Australia.”

Rebecca Hickson will marry her partner of nine years, Sarah Turnbull, three years after their commitment ceremony.

“Now we get to declare our love for each other again and have it recognized as a real union,” Hickson said.

Sally Rugg, marriage equality director of campaign group GetUp, said the move to legalize same-sex marriage brought Australia closer to acceptance.

“From Tuesday onwards, no couple will have to wait to declare their love and solemnize their commitment to each other,” Rugg said.

“From here on in young LGBTIQ Australians will know that they too can look forward to a future of acceptance, love and marriage, if that’s what they choose. Australia is one huge step closer to practicing the value of fairness that we preach.”

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