Yesterday, two men said goodbye to the loves of their life.
Two men whose partners were ripped from them seven days ago in the most unexpected and brutal of ways.
Two men who will never be the same because the person they chose to spend the rest of their lives with, is gone.
Two men who will have to forge a different future from the one they had so carefully planned and nurtured with their soul mate.
Tori Johnson and Thomas Zinn. Image via Twitter.
And yet, these men are not equal in their grief. Not because of its depth or strength but because of who they loved.
Our country only recognises one of these men as a widower.
Katrina Dawson and husband Paul Smith. Image via Twitter.
Both stood up yesterday to deliver eulogies for their lost loves.
But only one man was ever able to stand next to his partner, in front of their family and friends and joyfully declare their commitment as a couple to spend the rest of their lives together. Only one man could have that declaration recognised by Australian law.
Today I feel ashamed of that fact.
I am ashamed that Tori Johnson and Thomas Zinn were not able to be married in this great country of ours and that their love and commitment to one another was somehow officially seen to be unworthy of legal recognition.
Volunteers remove the at Martin Place memorial for the siege victims.
We’ve heard how Tori and Thomas hoped to marry some day, when they legally could. And it is so devastating and unjust that day never came.
A few days ago, I attended the wedding of one of my closest friends. In the lead-up to the ceremony, she and her fiancé learned from their marriage celebrant that it was a legal requirement for the following sentence to be read out during the ceremony: “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others”.
There are very few things you must legally say or do during a wedding ceremony for your marriage to be recognised under Australian law. Hardly any, in fact.
Thomas and Tori’s father were amongst the family and friends who carried his coffin. Image via 9 News.
That sentence is one of them.