Keith Edwards and Afham Janil are the first gay couple to marry in the Northern Territory. Picture: Keri Megelus
Keith Edwards and Afham Janil are the first gay couple to marry in the Northern Territory. Picture: Keri Megelus

NT celebrates its first same-sex marriage

A LOW-key and intimate wedding at the registry office in Darwin yesterday has gone down in the history books.

As far as nuptials go, the union of Keith Edwards and Afham Janil was an understated event attended by a handful of close acquaintances.

But their simple celebrations will undoubtedly resonate far further than they expected, as the pair became the first to tie the knot in the Territory since the legalisation of same sex marriage.

Mr Edwards said it was a relief to be able to marry his partner legally in Australia.

"It has not made any difference in our relationship, but it is nice to be able to endorse how we feel about each other."

Mr Edwards said the couple, who met nearly three years ago, got engaged three months into the relationship.

"But we didn't think of getting married because it wasn't obvious that you would be able to do that."

He said that although they have never held back from being affectionate in public, it had been hard to shake the feeling that it could be frowned upon.

"We've been walking around Darwin, holding hands, hugging and no one has said anything negative. But you still feel like that perhaps you shouldn't do that."

However, Mr Edwards said that the introduction of marriage equality has made him feel more comfortable.

"I think it is much less challengeable now. It makes you feel normal."

His husband Afham Janil said that pair had thrown together yesterday's wedding plans in just a few days.

"We were nervous earlier," he said.

"We only organised for three or four days."

Mr Edwards said they had put in the required forms 30 days ago but hadn't planned an actual wedding.

"We thought we'd just have ourselves and two witnesses, we were even going to drag two people off the street," he said.

"But then we thought it is a bit silly not having a party so we just organised that in the last few days."

Wedding guest Rob Tait said it had been a pleasure to witness his colleague Mr Edwards, someone he called "one of the true legends of Darwin", get married to someone he loved.

"He has given so many years of clinical service not only to patients in the public hospital but also has done so much community outreach work."

"To see him happy and so content and to be the first person to celebrate this milestone not only for himself but also for the NT as a whole is just an absolute pleasure."


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