There were "a lot of happy people" in the lives of John Davis and Rob Whalley on Wednesday when they moved closer to a desire to be blessed by the Anglican Church as a married couple.
Members of the church's appellate tribunal voted 5-1, giving their approval to the Wangaratta diocese's decision to bless couples who have been legally married outside of the church - including same-sex couples.
"We are delighted with the decision," Mr Davis told The Border Mail.
"It's a total vindication of our careful process and it also affirmed that within the Anglican Church of Australia, there's a great deal of regional autonomy.
"The local diocese has a great deal of freedom to move, provided it doesn't cross certain boundaries."
While the couple, who are both priests and have been together for more than 20 years, could be the first same-sex couple in Australia to be blessed by the Anglican Church, Mr Davis said there was more to the battle.
"We weren't doing it for us, we were doing it for everybody. It says something very important about the nature of the church," he said.
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He said the opinion of the appellate tribunal means the blessing could happen immediately, but coronavirus restrictions have put a hold on any possible ceremony.
"Rob and I have to decide whether we go ahead within this, where might it take place and who might do it," Mr Davis said.
"It would be nice to have a sense of occasion if we can."
Wangaratta Bishop Clarence Bester also said he believed blessing could occur straight away, but would spend the coming days consulting the church's legal team.
There have been calls from opponents of the change in Sydney to wait until the issue can be discussed by the general synod.
"We are aware that within the national church, there will be some kickback," Bishop Bester said.
In a statement to the diocese, he said it was important to recognise the tribunal concluded Wangaratta "has not gone against the teaching of the church on any question of faith".
"Even when we do not always agree on issues, it is amazing how we have still been able to hold together as a church," he said.
"I know that this determination and opinion might deeply affect our unity as a church, but is also affirming to the many who have felt excluded over a long period of time."
Archbishop Geoff Smith, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, said the tribunal's decision was an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about how to respond to issues of human sexuality.
"We believe God loves all people including those in the LGBTI+ community and those in same-sex relationships," he said.
"It is important to note that there is significant goodwill among leaders of the church to work together on these difficult issues."