As of next month, anyone can marry anyone they love in Australia regardless of their gender.
They can get a marriage certificate, not some token ‘commitment certificate’ but a legit, legal MARRIAGE certificate just like any straight couple.
They may not want to get married.
Now, they get to make the choice, rather than have the choice made for them by the legislation.
Having a choice means so much.
If you’ve been following me for a while, either here or on social media, you will know that this has a HUGE impact on me.
I am lucky to share my life with my gorgeous partner, Shannon and together we have a four-year-old daughter.
We are lucky because we live a life with a ridiculous amount of love and support.
We have never had to justify our relationship to anyone, and on the odd occasions where we have we just move past it.
I’m not quiet, shy or reserved about broadcasting my life or the way we choose to live it.
Which, ultimately, is no different than any other family.
Apart from this little thing. This marriage equality thing.
And in one month, it all changes.
This is massive for my little family, for many of my friends and for the gay community in total.
This is so much more than a certificate.
More than a marriage, a wedding.
This is about being treated equally as anyone else in the eyes of the country and in the eyes of the law.
That’s all we want.
All we have ever wanted.
My heart breaks when I think of those who don’t have the chance to marry the person they love.
Those who partners have passed away.
Who had sham marriages because they had to hide who they were, and it wasn’t accepted to be gay.
Who had to fight to live their lives open and free.
They paved the way for us to have equality.
Without their sacrifices and courage, this would never have happened.
And this makes me sad.
But at the same time, I feel hopeful for our future.
For the future of young LGBTIQ people who can dream of their big day with the person they love, without worrying about gender.
For our children, queer or straight, who will grow up in a country where equality is a social norm.
In a country who believed that it was a human right to be treated the same as anyone else.
This is a very good thing.
So how does this directly impact my life exactly?
(Apart from the obvious – being treated equally?)
We can change our name, without losing our identities.
Until now we have been unable to change our names to Knox-Gray legally, unless we chose to do it by deed poll.
Changing your name by deed poll involves giving up your original birth certificate (which has your birth name) to the government.
Then they issue you a new birth certificate containing your new name.
Nicole Gray never existed.
All record of her is gone.
So essentially the people that we were before we met don’t exist.
I know what you’re saying, it’s just a name.
For some – yes.
For us – no.
And I know people who have chosen to take this path without hesitation.
But for us, it’s not what we want.
We love the names we were born with, and having a marriage certificate means that we can legally change our names without having to give up who we were when we for the first 27 years
Having the same name as a family is something that straight people take for granted.
It’s a choice that they can make.
We didn’t have that choice.
Our daughter legally has both our names, and I want nothing more than to have the name of my wife along with mine.
Without having to give up my birth certificate.
The only thing you need to change your name as a straight married person is, wait for it, a MARRIAGE certificate.
Which, before now, we couldn’t get.
But now, we can.
Without getting new birth certificates, without changing our names by deed poll and without having to essentially ‘give up’ who we were before we met.
I can introduce Shan as my WIFE, without feeling like there’s a ‘condition’ attached.
Without knowing that each time I say it, it’s not true.
Because the law never recognised it.
Now it does.
And I can say it with no conditions attached.
It's easier to validate my relationship to others.
I am now entitled to the rights that married couples expect, without having to jump through bureaucratic hoops to prove my relationship exists.
To prove that we are committed, that we are together and in love.
Just like my best friends, my brother, my parents, my grandparents, and anyone else in my life who is married.
I will no longer be treated differently.
I become, by law, her next of kin.
If, heaven forbid, something happens to Shan, I can legally make decisions regarding her health, her funeral and her will.
As she can for me.
Our future together, and that of our daughter, will become much more secure.
Equality is reflected outside our home by those that aren't directly in our lives.
My daughter will be able to see that her parents, her two mums, are no different than anyone else’s parents.
That we are not less according to the law.
She will live and breathe the beautiful consequences of equality in society, not just her community.
She will grow up knowing that who you love doesn’t matter.
She will grow up in a country that has shown that it believes inclusion, acceptance and love is a basic human right and is willing to do something huge to make it a reality.
Thank you Australia.
Bring on the gay weddings!
Or should I say, weddings!!