Sydney Mardi Gras celebrates 40 years as first gay couple marry at parade

An estimated 300,000 revellers took to the streets of Sydney, Australia, for the 40th annual Mardi Gras this weekend.

The event also saw its first ever marriage as Brit Stuart Henshall and his Australian partner James Brechney tied the knot.

The couple got engaged live on TV as the results of a historic postal vote on same-sex marriage was announced.


Brechney proposed to his partner of two and a half years, Henshall, as people around them celebrated the public voting Yes by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent.

Stuart said “we’re so thrilled that LGBT couples can get married across Australia, we wanted to share our marriage with the world and where better than the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras.

“We are so honoured to be able to do it here during this special time, we realise and acknowledge the shoulders that we stand on that has made this all possible. We did this with the blessing of some of our 78er friends, and given some of their partners passed before seeing the law change it is a very bittersweet moment.

“If one kid in rural Australia sees our wedding float and it helps them on their journey of self acceptance then it is all worth it. There is still a long way to go in Australia, and around the world, in the fight for equality and to stamp out homophobia” Mr Henshall concluded.

They also said they would use confetti made from the posters of the ‘no’ campaign on same-sex marriage.

It is the first Sydney Mardi Gras to take place since Australia legalised same-sex marriage last year, and the first weddings took place in January.

Check out a selection of the best photos from the Mardi Gras

Photos by Cori Mitchell