Wedding plans regardless of the plebiscite outcome

August 11, 2017

Cris Todd (right) and long-time partner Damien Stevens are adamant they will wed in April, even if marriage equality is not legalised in time.

CRIS Todd has already booked in his wedding with his partner of nine years, Damien.

A venue has been reserved, invitations sent to friends and family, a photographer and celebrant picked, entertainment hired — even the cake maker has been selected.

But the legality of the April 14 ceremony rests entirely on Federal politicians enshrining marriage equality into law.

There are fewer than 250 days for parliamentarians to change the Marriage Act, but even if that does not happen, Cris is adamant the wedding will go ahead.

It is an unusual set of circumstances for the couple, who live together in Shepparton — though Cris grew up in Tongala and works in Echuca.

Five weeks before the wedding they will become parents through a surrogate in Canada.

Although state laws in Australia enable same-sex couples to raise children through adoption or surrogacy, Federal laws prevent them from tying the knot.

‘‘That’s kind of another funny issue,’’ Cris said.

‘‘A lot of the right-wing politicians are saying: ‘What about children?’

‘‘Marriage doesn’t equal children. It really has nothing to do with children at all. It’s the binding of two people, and children may come later on.

‘‘For us, our surrogate’s pregnant. If we want children, it’s going to happen regardless.’’

The confirmation that the Federal Government was pushing ahead with a postal plebiscite on the issue has angered many in the LGBTI community, including Cris.

He compared marriage equality to being lost at sea, sighting what you think is land, then — just as you are within reach — realising it was an illusion.

‘‘For me, this is an issue I’ve campaigned on for 10 years,’’ he said.

‘‘You kind of almost feel like it’s going to happen, then once again it’s ripped away from you.

‘‘You’re exhausted. You’re angry your life is once again being discussed and put to people who don’t know who you are and don’t know your relationship.

‘‘It’s like we’re not people. I don’t think that’s acceptable for a country to be doing to a minority of people, whether it’s the gay community or a thing on women’s rights.

‘‘We’re people and we all should have equal laws.’’

He has labelled the plebiscite a waste of money and is convinced the Federal Government is purposefully delaying the issue. But despite his objections, and despite some people within the LGBTI community planning to boycott the plebiscite, Cris said that he would be casting a ‘yes’ vote and urging his friends and family to follow suit.

‘‘A lot of people are saying they won’t play their (Federal Government’s) games, but we’ve got to deal with the cards we’ve been given,’’ he said. ‘‘Then, really, we can’t complain after that if we all go: ‘No, we’re not going to do it’. We can’t really turn around and say: what about our rights? The Liberals will say we gave you that opportunity, so we’re not dealing with it during our term of government.’’

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