'Relief' as soulmates finally tie the knot
LOVE was well and truly in the Gympie air over the weekend.
In the first same-sex marriage the region has seen since the Marriage Amendment Act passed last December, local Nic Bentley and her long-term partner Nicquel Dunn tied the knot in an intimate ceremony surrounded by their family and close friends.
Ms Bentley, 24, said the wedding turned out "better than we ever expected” after just six weeks of planning.
"It's awesome that we're finally married, but nothing's really changed,” she said.
"We've been together for more than five years, and we were engaged three years ago.
"It's combined happiness and relief, because we knew we'd get married even before we got engaged but we weren't sure it would ever happen here.”
The national same-sex marriage debate was the source of varied controversies last year, with the issue constantly being at the forefront of political and social debate until the Marriage Law postal survey returned a 'Yes' result with 61.6% of the vote.
Ms Bentley said she and Ms Dunn, 26, who met while working at a Sunshine Coast Big W store, were initially hesitant to be themselves because of the widespread stigma around same-sex relationships.
Ms Bentley said the survey result was a "massive relief” for the couple.
"It was great to see Australia finally catching up with most of the world,” she said.
"It makes it a lot easier for people to be themselves and be who they want to be without being afraid.
"There was a lot of stigma when we started dating, but when the issue started being discussed and the public started to voice their beliefs we felt more comfortable.
"We were also worried our families wouldn't accept us, but they were all fully accepting, which really helped.”
Ms Bentley said the couple are now looking forward to enjoying their two-stop honeymoon in Byron Bay and New Zealand before embracing their next chapter.
"We're looking forward to starting life together as a married couple, start a family, do all the things that normal couples do,” she said.