A Melbourne woman with terminal cancer has tied the knot with her same-sex partner at an emotional ceremony.
Authorities waived the usual one month notice period for couples wanting to marry so that Cas Willow, 53, could marry her partner of 17 years Heather Richards, 56, at Melbourne’s Peter McCallum Cancer Center where she’s receiving care.
After thinking she had beaten breast cancer, Cas received the sad news it had metastasised to her brain, and her future was unknown.
But the pair married on Monday in a small ceremony at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where Cas is receiving care.
She was wheeled down the aisle to John Legend’s “All of Me” at the ceremony that hospital staff and suppliers donated to the couple.
The couple told SBS it was “a dream come true” that the law change came in time for the couple to wed.
“She has always been there for me, she’s been my partner in life, my confidante, my soul mate, my everything,” Heather said.
“To now be able to carry on afterward and say she was my wife and not just my partner, it adds sort of completion to a relationship.”
The couple’s marriage certificate was the first updated copy the state had printed since marriage equality became law.
Heather earlier said the couple had their hearts set on a legal wedding ceremony.
“We are committed to each other, we didn’t need to do a commitment ceremony to prove it,” she said.
“We wanted to do a wedding because it’s equal and it’s legal.
“It means our relationship won’t just be tolerated, it will be accepted.”
In lieu of wedding gifts, the pair have crowdfunded for donations to support the Cancer Centre.
Several other Australian couples have also been granted special dispensation to wed early at ceremonies that had already been booked in before marriage equality became law.
Lauren Price, 31 and Amy Laker, 29, likely became the first couple to marry when they tied the knot in New South Wales last Saturday.
The same day, Amy and Elise MacDonald married in Victoria at Melbourne’s Carlton Gardens, surprising guests who weren’t aware the union would be official.