It’s embarrassing to admit but I have been engaged several times yet have never married.
It is not as if I didn’t love the men who asked me – I did and still do – it’s just that I wasn’t emotionally ready and the thought of marriage terrified me.
As an atheist, I loathed the thought of having organised religion play any part in sealing my love legally. This caused a big problem for one fiancé who wanted to appease his Catholic parents. In the end, it was an insurmountable issue.
Same goes for the vows, as I obey nobody and could not, in all honesty, promise until death do us part to someone I love. I believe no one really can.
Then there’s the pressure for a wedding, something that still makes me break out in a nervous rash just contemplating. You see, I have not only never wanted to be a princess for a day, the centre of all attention, the very thought of it has about as much appeal as a night of lust with Christopher Pyne (sorry if that imagery has scarred you).
Add to this the fact such a celebration would cost a house deposit, that I would have to invite the partners of friends who I don’t know or like to witness such an intimate moment. Then, there’s the vows, the expectation of a frou frou frilly frock, bridesmaids (my girlfriends are neither maids nor servants to me), a matron of honour (Matron! Arrgggggggh!) and the whole idea is an anathema to me.
Until now, that is.
You see, I was lucky enough to attend a gay wedding recently and it was such a beautiful, honest, loving and hard-earned exchange, I melted.
The couple have been together for some 15-odd years and are best friends as well as lovers. It was so important to them to seal their love legally, to show their families and friends the depths of their devotion, it became a joyous occasion that I will never forget. I finally got it. Marriage is important.
When you are denied to marry whom you love simply because of your genitalia, the act takes on a special gravitas. Every time a same-sex couple marries is a win for equal rights. And even though it can’t happen on Australian soil (yet!) it brings together two communities, straight and gay, under the same umbrella of love and commitment.
It is no longer just a stress-fest party, a box to tick in terms of life passage, a nod to church, societal expectation and the $2billion annual Australian wedding industry – it is a statement that love rules.
At a time when Channel 9 is running a television program Married at First Sight where same-sex couples “marry” (it is still not clear that these unions are legal) sight unseen, how dare anyone turn around and say the institution is sacred or sacrilegious. The concept renders it a joke, cheap entertainment, a slap in the face to same-sex couples and their love as well, as anyone else who took their vows seriously.