By Peter Mann
Australian politician Ian Hunter, 52, a social inclusion minister in the state government of South Australia, married his partner of 22 years, Leith Semmens, 42. Semmens is an artist. The two traveled to Spain to celebrate their marriage in a small ceremony held in a town called Jun on Wednesday, December 19th.
The couple was disheartened by the fact that Australian lawmakers have continued to reject legalizing same-sex marriage. Spain has recognized same-sex unions since passing a law in 2005.
The newlyweds have so far enjoyed their marital bliss and are hopeful that Australia will approve a gay marriage law soon, according to the Associated Press.
“Without a doubt it’s inevitable in Australia, but you’re looking at six or seven years, and me and my partner weren’t willing to wait that long,” said Hunter.
The town mayor of Jun, Jose Antonio Rodriguez Salas, aided the couple’s complicated paperwork needed to marry in Spain. According to the Huffington Post, Rodriguez has officiated many same-sex marriages since the law passed, but Hunter and Semmens were his first couple from abroad.
According to a report in the Associated Press, Hunter is believed to be the first out member of an Australian legislative body to marry a same-sex partner.