On Monday night at 6.30pm, Australian TV made history.
For the first time since Australia achieved marriage equality in December last year, a same sex wedding was shown in a television drama on our screens.
In terms of LGBTQI representation, it was a moment that shouldn’t be underestimated. As Jason Herbison, the executive producer of Neighbours, wrote for The Huffington Post, “there is power in portrayal”.
“Having a couple like David and Aaron pronounced ‘husband and husband’ – and having it legal in real life – is a defining moment in how far we’ve come, even if there is a way to go,” Herbison says.
When the wedding was filmed, same sex marriage wasn’t officially legal in Australia, making for what Herbison describes as “an emotional time behind-the-scenes”.
Watch: The Neighbours episode making history. Post continues after video.
One of the “shining lights” during the same sex marriage debate, he says, was Magda Szubanski, who tonight brought audiences to tears on Neighbours as celebrant Jemima Smythe-Davis.
Magda’s power in her scenes, as well as during the campaign for marriage equality, was her ability to bring joy, happiness and laughter, while simultaneously acknowledging the significance of recognising same sex marriage in Australia. She was a voice of reason, patience, inclusion and enthusiasm, at a time where she would’ve been excused for showing her frustration.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that it was the scene featuring Magda officiating David and Aaron’s wedding that brought Australian audiences to tears. In particular, just as the couple were pronounced husband and husband, Aaron said, “David and I don’t want today to be for show. This is what all this campaigning has been for, so that weddings like ours a real.”
It was a moment that struck a chord with many viewers.