Same-sex marriage became legal in the predominantly Catholic country of Austria as of the new year. And a couple of women took advantage of the law and wed at five minutes past midnight January 1, the Associated Press reports.
Nicole Kopaunik and Daniela Paier, both 37, were married in Velden in the southern part of Austria following a four-year engagement. But their marriage was a group effort that included Velden's mayor and townspeople who pitched in to ensure it all went smoothly.
"Thanks to all church officials and especially to our registrar that everything went so well," Velden Mayor Ferdinand Vouk said, according to Austrian public broadcaster ORF.
The women were able to get married after Austria's constitutional court struck down the country's marriage ban in 2017, ruling that same-sex couples will have the right to marry as of 2019. Prior to the end of the ban, same-sex couples were allowed to register into a partnership that granted fewer rights than marriage, the AP notes.
"Now everyone has the chance to decide for themselves, if I want a 'marriage for all' or if I want a legal partnership, that was not the case before," Kopaunik said, according to ORF. "We decided to marry and are happy about it."
\u201coh yeah we finally got marriage equality in austria since today midnight!!!! cries i have to cry. who wants to volunteer and become my wife?\u201d
Meanwhile, Paier explained why she took her wife's name. "We are also family and will have a family name," she said.
Austria is the 26th country where same-sex marriage is legal, according to Freedom to Marry, which celebrated the decision in a tweet.
\u201cThe start of 2019 also marks the first day of the freedom to marry in #Austria - which today became the 26th country where same-sex couples can marry, following a landmark court ruling affirming marriage equality in 2017! \ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddf9\u201d