Australia ushers in 2018 with a fireworks display celebrating newly legal same-sex marriage

Sydney, Australia celebrates 2018 with Happy New Year fireworks display
Sydney, Australia celebrates 2018 with Happy New Year fireworks display

Sydney, Australia, celebrated 2018 with a spectacular fireworks display that included a rainbow waterfall cascading off the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The rainbow was intended to celebrate same-sex marriage, recently legalized in Australia. More than 1.5 million revelers watched the fireworks.

Sydney was one of the first to welcome in the new year, with celebrations around the world coming within hours. “This is a fabulous way to see out 2017,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Part of the display was also designed by actor Hugh Jackman. The Hollywood star and same-sex marriage advocate designed 20 seconds of gold and silver fireworks.

Royal Assent was given to the same-sex marriage law on Dec. 8, 2017, following the historic postal vote earlier in 2017. Sixty-one percent of Australians voted yes for same-sex marriage in the postal vote. Australia’s Parliament passed the bill to allow two people, regardless of sex, to marry. The motion was approved almost unanimously by the House of Representatives, after passing the upper chamber the previous week.

The first same-sex marriages took place two weeks ago in Australia for couples with special circumstances, who were excused from the 30-day waiting period. Two weddings took place then and it is expected that the next same-sex weddings will take place on Jan. 9, 2018, after the waiting period ends. Lauren Price, 31, and Amy Laker, 29, were the first to marry in Sydney. Another couple had been granted an exemption because one of them has terminal cancer.