The same-sex marriage bill passed through the lower house Thursday afternoon, and it’s been a very, long time coming. Decades, for some couples.
We meet four couples, including three who’re engaged and will soon be getting married.
Emma and Hayley (pictured above)
Hayley proposed to Emma the night prior to the postal survey result.
“We’d talked a lot about marriage, originally we were waiting for it to be legislated,” Emma says. “But then I had been suffering a bit of anxiety about the vote, and she [Hayley] took it upon herself to sort this out. She surprised me with around ten friends there, holding big colourful signs saying, ‘Will you marry me’.
Hayley said yes.
They have been waiting for the same-sex marriage bill to pass parliament before setting dates and making solid plans.
“When the results were announced, there was this feeling of huge elation. But then there was some sadness. We planned to have a big party and went out for lunch, but found we had low energy, like battle fatigue, everyone was feeling drained. This shouldn’t have happened this way.”
Michelle and Rhonda
Michelle and Rhonda have been partners in “life and love” for 17 years
“I’d been ambivalent about marriage simply because it was never going to be an option for us,” Michelle says. “Why wish for the unattainable? It hurt that our deep, abiding love was considered less than.”
Michelle says this legislation is a massive leap forward in feeling included.
‘Now, due to the work of magnificent marriage equality activists & inclusionists, we can consider ourselves included and equal. That opens up all sorts of possibilities.
“Who knows? Maybe a proposal is just around the corner!”
Phebe and Paris
After a two-year romance, Phebe and Paris knew they were committed to a life together — one that included marriage. But on the day of the survey results, Phebe had a brain-lapse and forgot what day it was.
“Paris ran up to me and declared, ‘No matter what happens today, we will get married’, And I agreed ‘Okay! But what’s today?” she tells us jokingly.
Despite Phebe’s moment of amnesia, the day inevitably carried huge weight for the couple. The relief and elation of Australia’s acceptance cemented their resolve toward each other.
“After the results, we felt such a shift. Marriage moved from a one-day possibility into a reality, Phebe says. “When I professed ‘I want to be your wife. I want to be your fiancé now. Not later, now’ and Paris said the same back to me, we were engaged. Just like that.” There was no time to wait.
Now the couple is excitedly planning their upcoming nuptials and are celebrating their engagement with friends and family.
“We’ll have the celebrations at Coburns Distillery relying on our family to create the day for us,” says Phebe. “My future mother-in-law Eloise is a superb calligrapher, and my future father-in-law is a master jeweller (Mark, do you know you are making our rings?) Our little sisters don’t yet know they are maids of honour.”
Rachael & Marianne
Rachael and Marianne had been together exactly 22 years on Thursday.
They were particularly keen for the bill to pass on the 7th, so they could stick to remembering one date in the future.
They plan on getting married in exactly 12 months, on the 7th December 2018.
Rachael said this has been a significant turn for her, given she had actually been anti-marriage for most of her life (having seen too many people get divorced and wondering what the point is).
“When this whole debate started I still didn’t want to get married,” she says. “However, it made me angry that other people were determining what I could and couldn’t do with my life. I remember many of us posting something on Facebook that said ‘did I vote on YOUR marriage?’. And during the course of the debate, when I realised we still didn’t have the same rights. I was gobsmacked.”
She was particularly concerned reading and hearing stories about couples that didn’t have the same rights as married couples, especially if one person in the relationship is ill or in hospital.
She says she cried when the results came out, and was called shortly after by Marianne.
“So I’ve come from being anti-marriage to wanting to get married. But don’t expect a wedding. Or god-forbid a wedding dress. We’ll have something with close friends and family, something intimate.
“That said, we are wanting a drag queen celebrant to marry us. So put the call out please.”