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Oct 27, 2011
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Emily Barakat

Thornleigh

I am seventeen and just finishing high school. I have only recently (in the last year or so) come to terms with the fact that I am bisexual.
I have talked to friends at school about marriage equality, and people often say that the legal rights are the same, but that the term ‘marriage’ is not for same-sex couples. But equality in everything but name is not equality.
By making a distinction between who can and can’t get married, the Australian government is sending a message that GLBTI people are somehow different, and for some people difference is grounds enough for discrimination.
I’m not out to my parents yet, and I’m convinced that coming out will be a whole lot easier if I can say ‘look, mum and dad, this isn’t a big deal, I can still get married, I can still be just the same’. And after my parents get over their initial horror (that’s the response I predict, at any rate) I think they will be concerned that I may not get to live the life they’ve dreamed of for me – a life which most certainly features marriage somewhere in it.
Marriage equality is important not only for GLBTI people, but also for easing the concerns of parents and friends of people like me, and making the coming out process that little bit easier by putting us on equal footing.

Oct 27, 2011
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Kasey Clark

Lennox Head

I am a regular 17 year old guy with gay family members and friends. I find it unacceptable that I if I choose, may marry my girlfriend in years to come but however my gay family members and friends may not marry their chosen partners. There must be put a stop to this nonsense.

Oct 27, 2011
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Martine Delaney

Risdon Vale

Marriage equality matters a whole lot to me because, as Australia’s marriage law stands today, my honesty with the world means I’m unable to contemplate marrying the woman I love so dearly. A situation we find really quite astounding, absurd, almost amusing but certainly not funny.
 
I’m transgender, transsexual, I transitioned more than eight years ago – actually eight years, four months and eleven days, as I write. And that makes it exactly eight years, four months and eleven days since marriage inequality became a very real issue for me.
 
As a boy in the world, I had been married twice before I transitioned. In hindsight, my first marriage was probably all about me proving to the world how good I was at being a man. Not unexpectedly, it ended in divorce. The second was entirely different, based on honesty but cut short by tragic death. No matter why or how I entered into these marriages, no matter how different they were, both were perceived as perfectly acceptable by our society and our lawmakers – because I was a boy marrying a girl.
 
Some time after that tragic death, I decided to extend the honesty I’d shown to my late wife to the rest of the world. I began to transition, eventually living full-time as a woman and – eight years, four months and eleven days ago – undergoing the irreversible step of reassignment surgery.
 
During the next year, I began to realise I’d fallen in love with my friend, Jen. When I mentioned this to her, it emerged the feelings were reciprocated! Neither of us viewed our self as exclusively same-sex-attracted or heterosexual; we’d both fallen in love with an individual, a soul, a mind – not with a legally-sanctioned and approved set of genitalia. It was about loving that person as a whole, never about their sex.
 
We’ve now shared those feelings, and a home, for more than seven years. Along the way, we took on caring for a tiny baby who’d had a very uncertain and shaky start to life and was in need of a secure place. She turned four last week, we continue to care for her and Jen and I now share full custodial responsibilities for this small person.
 
For me, this story shows the truly myopic nature of our country’s marriage legislation. Despite some relatively minor, hormonally-induced movement of body fat and the surgical re-arrangement of a small part of me, I am the person I was before transitioning. In reality, I’ve just been more honest with the world. The essence of me is not a tad different to the essence of me prior to settling for honesty. In so very, very much, Martine is no different to Martin.
 
Yet, the me who existed before, the “now” me sans honesty, could freely enter into matrimony – holy or otherwise and as dishonestly as I wanted to be. While the “now” me cannot marry the person I love because our lawmakers maintain eligibility criteria based on a prescribed package of genitalia. It makes no sense to me.
 
The really silly part to me, really silly, is this – had I remained dishonest with the world, had I continued to live as Martin and had I still managed to find and fall in love with Jen, we could be married now. Jen remains Jen, a wondrous constant in my life, and – as mentioned – Martine is Martin is Martine, we are both but aspects of me. Yet, now, I cannot marry Jen.
 
Eight years, four months and eleven days ago marriage inequality became a very real issue for me. But, four years ago, it took on a whole new level of nastiness for Jen and myself. And, it remains so to this day. No matter how hard we work to ensure our small person knows of her birth parents and knows them, we are in oh-so-many ways her parents. It’s us, the ones who blithely shop through a supermarket temper tantrum and hold her when she wakes from dreaming and comfort her when she’s ill or saddened by her mother’s non-appearance, it’s us.
 
Yet, she’s growing up in a society in which those who make laws continue to send her the message that those who love and care for her are, somehow, second-rate and second-class. That no matter how strong their love, nor how great their commitment to her and each other, their sex renders them less equal than an opposite-sex couple.
 
Opponents of equality can keep on arguing falsehoods, denying the secular nature of our society and its marriage law, maintain their outlandish claim to the word “marriage” as the god-given title to be used only for accessories, even the metallic paint, but you can’t call it the same thing!”
 
But, while they do any of these things, they do two very wrong things. They tell me my love has become less worthy of society’s blessing and recognition, solely because of my sex. And, they tell our beautiful little being the two most significant people in her life are not worthy of the respect given others in this land, solely because of their sex.

Oct 27, 2011
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Alannah Rowe

Mount Gravatt

flagI may be only 14… but I am in a same sex relationship, and I can assure you, i do not know what love is but when I am with my girlfriend it sure feels like I know what love is. She is amazing. Marriage should be legal to all couples. ‘No matter gay straight or bi, lesbian, trans gender life’ (ladygaga) gender does not define or limit love. One day I hope to get married and before the day I die, my one wish is to see equality for all couples. GLBTI !!! We run the world anyway!

Oct 27, 2011
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Randall Berger

Melbourne

randall2I have been married for 35 years and have 3 teen/adult children.

My younger brother lives in LA. He is gay and has been in a loving relationship for 15 years. They have exchanged rings and have been trying to get married for a while. As you know, California has had very on again/off again laws about same-sex marriage.

My wife and I were married in a secular ceremony with a Marriage Celebrant in 1977. It was very new. My background as a writer and performer led me to think of Celebrancy as a “3rd Age” occupation.

In obtaining my qualifications as a Celebrant, I studied the Australian Marriage Act. I began to realise how unfair and hypocritical the current debate was. I am now strongly in favour of Marriage Equality and hope to be a part of the success of the movement.

The Australian Marriage Act is 50 years old. It is a very good document that separates church and State with regards to marriage. Amendments have allowed Australians to be able to create a fulfilling and meaningful marriage ceremony that is about them.

Unfortunately, recent amendments have tightened the section that defines “Marriage is between a man and a woman.” Loosening this definition only requires a short amendment which has been on the table in Canberra since 2009.

This change will happen. It is only a matter of time.

Oct 27, 2011
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Terry Brien

Victoria Park (East)

Richard and I joined our lives together more than 23 years ago. After about 15 years together I always thought that the actual marriage rite would be a regressive step for us. After all, who wants to go back to zero after 15 years. In the last year my view has changed. I still don’t think we’d actually marry but the right shouldn’t be denied to anyone… so what changed to make me turn around my thinking?
We now have two beautiful daughters, they are the light, the joy and the meaning of our lives. I don’t want them growing up in a world where other children, other people and a legal system can say to them, one of your dad’s isn’t worthy. We both commit to caring for them, providing for them and raising them, they don’t need a difference to exist that justifies a prejudice against them. One day Richard and I might marry for their sake I want the ability to do that to come soon.

Oct 27, 2011
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Hayley Suskia

Wilson

My parents have been together for over 20 years. We are a little family, consisting of just three, and we are exceptionally close.

My family is relatively conventional: we have terribly embarrassing in-jokes, a sunday night roast each week, and constantly argue about leaving dishes in the sink. But unlike the majority of families, my parents are two women.

It’s ridiculous to me that after more than two decades together, my parent’s relationship is still not recognised as equal in the eyes of the law.

It’s time to end this ‘us and them’ mentality, and instead celebrate the beauty and diversity of love. It’s time to put an end marriage discrimination.

Oct 27, 2011
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Cushla McManaway

Newtown

IMG_1389My name’s Cushla and I live with my 2 year old son & my partner Tan.
Tan’s my first same sex long term relationship & I have found that everyone’s accepted her, My family love her and I feel very lucky to have had such support.
My son is the luckiest little man in town I think, He has 3 woman in his life & a father who loves him (the other woman being his father’s partner)
We all share caring for him and we all get quality time with him.
Ethan is a very calm sweet little boy who loves cars and trains & hugs, he’s not yet questioned why his mother’s with a woman but he’s lucky to be living in an area where’s he’s not alone & will have lots of little friends with similar home lives, at playgroup there are a few other lesbian mothers so he’s grown up around it.
Tan & I are engaged and have planned a wedding for March next year, we plan to fly back to my homeland to make it Legal there (Civil Union) but have a commitment ceremony here.
I’m very girly in a lot of ways and even from a little girl dreamed of having a big beautiful wedding, Its really upsetting that for me to have this dream in Australia i’d have to be marring a man which in the past these relationships never worked for me.
My relationship with Tan has always been full of love and support, We are totally committed to each other and maintain a healthy and stable home life for my son, this is still all new to me as I’ve never felt secure in past relationships which caused me to battle with depression for many years, since Tan moved in with me all these feelings vanished & life’s been amazing.
I just hope that Australia takes a note out of NZ’s book and realises that we are just living.
We want to get married! We plan to spend our lives together and feel marriage is important to us.
I hope before our wedding in March it becomes legal here in NSW so we don’t have to go to New Zealand to make it legal.. seems CRAZY. Australia’s very backwards in denying people the freedom to love and commit.

Oct 27, 2011
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Dianne Warnes

Cleveland

UsI became aware that I was attracted to my own sex when I was 12. Homosexuality was not discussed in my parent’s home. I was 16 in when I first heard the word “lesbian”. An acquaintance gave me a paperback called “The other side of Venus”. I identified so strongly with the character in the story, I felt all of her emotions and cried all of her tears. My awakening had begun.

I have lived the life of a lesbian in a heterosexual society since 1965. I have experienced discrimination, homophobia, rejection and fear of exposure in my personal, professional and social roles. I have known the sense of isolation and loneliness when there appeared to be no-one I could speak to about my sexual identity or my same sex relationships.

I am 63 now and very fortunate to have an amazing group of friends. More importantly, I share my journey with my partner, Jane, who loves me as much as I love her.

Jane and I want to get married in our own country surrounded by our own friends and family. We are both nurses and have spent our working lives looking after people like you. We are the same as you and we should have Equal Marriage Rights.

Oct 27, 2011
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Bianca Wordley

Goodwood

IMG_3736Six years ago Twiggy and I got married. It was an amazing day. In the morning, the sun pushed its way through storm clouds, anxiety mingled with excitement. The little knot of nerves in my tummy begun to unravel and a smile sat firmly on my face, safe in the knowledge I was to marry my best friend. I was floating in a bubble, voices were muffled and all I could think of was him and what we were about to do. It was a feeling I’ll never forget. I truly was walking on air.

We got married in a heritage-listed olive grove. It was dry and dusty. We stood among the gnarly, knotted tree trunks with our friends and family and declared our love for each other. We made a commitment to help each other become better people and never be afraid of the unknown. At the exact moment we kissed, at the end of the ceremony, I felt my feet finally touch the ground. I felt his fingers entwined around mine. I felt grounded, solid.

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