Geoff Field: Marriage Equality Delay is ‘Cruel’ to Families

People who know me understand that I am not an angry person. I always prefer to see the good in situations. However in the last few months I’ve become increasing annoyed as marriage equality has been turned into a political football. This, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of Australians support it. It’s unfair to people like me who just want to be equal under the law and it’s cruel to our loving families, but more on that later.

A decade ago me and my partner of 22-years, Jason, very publicly tied the knot in an event dubbed “Sydney’s first illegal gay wedding”. We chose to make it public to raise awareness of the fact that we couldn’t legally marry, but in spite of that our ceremony was as real and important to us as any of our straight friend’s weddings.

The ceremony was broadcast on 2Day FM’s Kyle & Jackie O Show (when I was their out and proud newsreader) and replayed across the Austereo network. It was broadcast live on Seven’s Sunrise, covered in New Idea and the Sunday papers and made the nightly TV news.
I can still remember the big day clearly. In the congregation were family, friends, supporters and many celebrities including the Australian Idol hosts, Daryl Somers, Carlotta, Kate Fischer, Chris Bath and Sonia Kruger. They were all gathered under a marquee at Circular Quay with rain tumbling down outside. Someone reminded me rain on your wedding day was good luck!

Amazingly, our wedding singers that day included Human Nature, Ricki-Lee and 70′s superstar Leo Sayer! Kyle Sandilands behaved himself and Jackie O serenaded us in a ‘gorgeous’ peach dress. In spite of all the showbiz, when the important part came there was a genuine dignity to the occasion and our vows wouldn’t change if we did it all again today.

My good friend and the NSW member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, says in many ways our wedding was the catalyst for the marriage equality movement which today is still running across the country. A decade later no government has had the guts to change the law to allow us to legally marry, even though almost 80% of the public support our right to do so.

My mum walked me down the aisle on that day a decade ago. But as the years have slipped by her memory has faded and she’s now been diagnosed with dementia. I fear she will not be capable of realising that Jason and I could be legally wed unless it happens soon. It’s so very cruel and I often wonder if those who continue to oppose us intend it to be that way. It’s not just us who are denied the joy of marriage, our families are denied it too.

There are also many older gay and lesbian people who have been together far longer than us and who would love to marry. However, time is not on their side. Can those opposing equality be so unkind as to withhold legal recognition of a lifetime’s love simply because that love is not straight?

It still amazes me that our ‘illegal’ wedding had such an impact. People stop me in the street and say they remember the broadcast. Some say they even pulled their car over to the side of the road so they could listen and ended up being late for work! Despite all the publicity and the positive response, Jason and I are still not seen as a married couple in the eyes of the law. It’s ridiculous really, when you consider how long we’ve been together. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another decade for the politicians to agree that we really are just equal.

About Geoff Field:

After a super long run on 2Day FM Sydney, Geoff Field is back On-Air reading news across the 2SM Network of 40 FM and AM stations across NSW and Queensland.

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