Neville Wills, 98, and his partner Ian Fenwicke sat together as they watched New South Wales decriminalise homosexuality in 1984.
But the Sydney couple, who have been together for 39 years, never imagined they would one day be planning their wedding.
‘I’m glad I’ve lived this long to see it,’ Mr Wills told The Sydney Morning Herald after marriage equality laws were signed off on Thursday.
Mr Wills, a university professor, and Mr Fenwicke, 74, first met at a luncheon in the Sydney suburb of Beverly Hills in 1978 and have been together ever since.
Neville Wills (right), 98, and his partner Ian Fenwicke (left), 74, are now planning their wedding after marriage equality laws were signed off on Thursday
That day nearly four decades ago, gay marriage was something ‘you just wouldn’t imagine,’ said Mr Fenwicke.
‘It has been a long road and it’s just astounding that it has finally been achieved… But it’s disappointing we’ve been so slow compared to most other advanced democratic countries,’ he added.
The pair are now planning a quiet wedding at a friend’s Sydney apartment, where they will be surrounded by around 20 loved ones.
Mr Wills, who describes himself as the ‘ancient part’ of the duo, said he looks forward to a ‘jolly nice cocktail hour’ after the ceremony.
‘I think it’s marvellous… We can be legitimate after today,’ the 98-year-old said.
Same-sex couples will be able to marry from early January after the governor-general signed-off the new laws on Thursday.
MPs Cathy McGowan (left), Adam Brandt (centre) and Andrew Wilkie (right) celebrate the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives
‘It is now part of Australian law,’ an elated Mr Turnbull said.
‘It is a big Australian hug for all same-sex couples, saying we love and respect you, now go out there and get married,’ he earlier told the Seven Network.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said the new law spoke for a modern, ‘inclusive and fair’ Australia.
Same-sex couples will be able to lodge formal intentions to wed from Saturday allowing them to marry from January 9.
Coalition Member Warren Entsch (centre) hugs Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) after the parliament passed the same-sex marriage bill