We may get Marriage Equality in 2016, 2017 or later in Australia. However what would be different if we had marriage equality back in 2000; the year Monique and I had our Commitment Ceremony?
1. We would be celebrating 16 years of marriage this year.
2. We would automatically be considered Next of Kin for each other instead of having to draw up very specific wills to show our relationship. Next of kin would also have given us automatic access to a range of ‘given’ status/relationship laws such as superannuation to wife in the event of death.
3. Our lawyer would not have suggested she draw up a document showing how long we had been in a relationship and when our domestic relationship commenced. This was for added security for both of us in the event of the validity of our relationship was questioned.
4. Our children would have most likely had their only one birth certificate with both parents’ names on them instead of a single mother’s name only. They have now had second birth certificates issued to include both their parents.
5. Monique and I wouldn’t have felt it necessary to change her name via deed poll so we all had the same last name. Not necessary however we did this for a range of reasons. Starting with it is easier that we all have the same name because no one questioned our right to consent in relation to the kids etc. At that time I could not legally consent for Baeleigh nor Monique for Caden.
6. Our parents would have attended our wedding. Monique’s mother has advanced dementia now. Even if we were to have a wedding in the coming years she will not really understand the celebration. Our parents are ageing and the lack of Marriage Equality may play a role in who actually sees us married. The year 2000 was some time ago, family members have died and relationships changed.
This is a short list highlighting a few differences there would have been in our life IF there had been Marriage Equality in the year 2000. There are many more examples available. To me what it demonstrates is that Marriage Equality is more than the act of being able to enter into the legal contract of Marriage. There are flow on effects both direct and indirect associated with what Marriage means within a society. Certain rights and understanding exists when a legal marriage is in place as opposed to defacto relationship laws. We must remember even the defacto laws were not in place in 2000 in most parts of Australia. Social changes also occur with Marriage Equality; these are an acknowledgement of the relationship status of a couple and their family unit. This produces deeper changes within society.
Earlier I said the year 2000 was a long time ago yet it can also appear quite a recent time in history and we have seen great change occur in this time. Let’s hope to see the change continue. Let us be the last generation of LGBTIQ people who are hamstrung by the inequality within the law.