Drew Reid and Father Noel Richards have become the first same-sex couple to be married in a Bendigo church.
The couple said 'I do' in front of family and friends at St Andrew's Uniting Church in Bendigo on Saturday.
"It has been a fabulous day," Drew said. "The love is just overwhelming. We're just gobsmacked."
The full church applauded loudly as the couple said their vows and were announced as husbands. Even a malfunctioning microphone couldn't damper spirits.
"It was just so wonderful," Father Noel said. "I thought I would be a blubbering idiot. But everyone was so terrific and there wasn't any time for blubbering."
"Australia said yes and so did we," Drew said.
Drew and Father Noel have been together for more than five years.
While Father Noel has been an ordained priest of the Anglican Church for more than 40 years, the couple were unable to be married at St Paul's Cathedral in Bendigo.
Despite that setback, Drew told the Bendigo Advertiser last month the support from the people of St Paul's was undeniable.
"The congregation has just loved Noel and when they heard about our relationship they were just really excited for us," Drew said.
The couple's marriage comes at an interesting time for the Anglican Church in Australia. Last month, the Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta broke from tradition and voted to bless same-sex marriages.
The Synod of the Diocese of Wangaratta voted 67-18 in favour of the blessings, but the historic decision is now being challenged by the Anglican Church of Australia.
Regardless of the legal outcome, Anglican Diocese of Bendigo Bishop Matt Brain indicated a similar change to allow blessings of same-sex marriages would not be happening in his diocese.
But Bishop Brain said the church would continue to support every parishioner regardless of their sexuality.
Reverend Di Esbensen, who officiated Drew and Father Noel's wedding, said St Andrew's Uniting Church was proud to host the first church wedding for a same-sex couple in Bendigo.
"I'm just absolutely thrilled that we could celebrate with two gorgeous men as they had their wedding," she said.
"It's also great to celebrate being a church that is open and inclusive and happy to celebrate good relationships. It's just brilliant."
The Australian public voted in favour of same-sex marriage in November 2017, with a majority of 61.6 per cent.
People in the Bendigo electorate also returned a 'yes' vote of 68.7 per cent, which was higher than both the Australian and Victorian results.
Reverent Esbensen said Bendigo had consistently been a welcoming place for people in the LGBTIQ+ community.
"To have this celebration in Bendigo where people were so enthusiastic in their support for same-sex marriage, it's just great," she said.
"The service was just splendid. It was warm and loving and relaxed, while having this sense of depth and dignity that every wedding deserves to have."
Drew and Father Noel's friend Andrew Apostolou said the wedding had been a long time coming.
"I'm just so happy," Mr Apostolou said. "It's taken a little while to get here, but to watch two friends who are in love get married is just beautiful.
"For them to be able to do it in front of their family and friends in such a public way was just great."
Mr Apostolou said he was thrilled the Uniting Church was so welcoming.
"I really love the way (Reverend) Di took it and it was just lovely to be able to celebrate it in a church service," he said. "It was great."
Reverend Esbensen said St Andrew's Uniting Church would be happy to host other same-sex weddings in the future.
"The whole church here is very supportive of same-gender marriage and supporting relationships," she said.
"So any chance we get to include, support and encourage couples, we absolutely will celebrate again and again."
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