Sunday, May 31, 2015

[Australia][South Austtralia] "Same-sex South Australian couples get on with life as nation grapples with laws for gay marriage" by Brad Crouchsunday

WHEN couple Mark and Matt eventually get married — and they are confident the time will come — the couple will have an adorable page boy and flower girl ready for the ceremony.

The Adelaide couple have been engaged for eight years and last year became fathers to Estelle and Tate, who are now 18 months.

Expectant parents say legalising same-sex marriage will combat homophobia
The children were born hours apart in a Bangkok hospital from donated eggs, each one fertilised by one of the men and carried by surrogate mothers.

The result is a modern, loving family taking close interest in the surging political developments around marriage equality sparked by the successful Irish referendum.

Labor will introduce a Bill legalising same sex marriages tomorrow while Coalition MP Warren Entsch is working towards a cross-party Bill.

A marriage equality rally in Sydney today is expected to draw thousands to hear speakers including Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s gay sister Christine Forster.

In November, the Sunday Mail’s Your State Your Say survey of revealed almost 64 per cent support for legalising same sex marriages.

But political issues in Mark’s and Matt’s busy household play second fiddle to games of chasey, cuddles and challenges facing any family as infants quickly grow to active toddlers. However, Mark believes legalising same sex marriage is an important symbolic step.

“We have already been engaged for eight years and already we are lucky enough to have our two wonderful children in our family,” he said.

“Marriage isn’t going to change our family but it is important, especially for people in newer relationships who want to demonstrate a commitment to each other and start their lives together.”

The couple had considered getting married overseas, or having a ceremony without legal recognition, but none of those options felt right. But they do plan to get married here once it is legal.

Matt said their long engagement, and now having children, meant they had already started their lives together regardless of a ceremony.

“Family life could not be better,” he said.

“When the laws in Australia do eventually change we will of course finally have the wedding we have dreamt of — but we have also had to get on with family life.

“We‘ve proved we are committed to each other and have been fortunate enough to be able to provide a loving and stable family for our two children to grow up in.

“We are not all that different from so many other families; the only difference is we are currently unable to marry.

“In some ways it will be strange if the laws change as getting married will be a celebration of the step we missed out on in our lives rather than the beginning of our lives together.”

While the issue is important to them, the couple noted on a day-to-day basis they are focused on their children — and that is another reason they hope for a change to the law.

“Marriage equality is very important to us for the sake of our children,” Matt said.

“I desperately want them to grow up in a world supportive of all families.

“I don’t want them to have to grow up and wonder why their parents can’t get married, I don’t want them to feel they are any less or that their family is any less than anyone else’s.”

The couple say attitudes to gay people have changed so much during their lifetimes it is now virtually a non-issue, with the vast majority of people simply accepting them to the point where they sometimes forget their family is considered non-traditional.

“I think the biggest cause of the change has simply been the fact that more and more people know a friend or family member who is gay,” Mark said.

“When it comes down to an actual relative or friend who wants to get married to someone they love, nobody could really say no to that.”

The couple have received support from strangers in supermarkets as well as family and friends — having two cute children in tow helps — but say they feel they are simply an ordinary family. Matt said: “I believe people can see how happy we are and how happy and contented our children are,” Matt said.

“I think harshly judging those that are different is starting to fade away over time and people have been absolutely wonderful and kind to us.

“This gives me a lot of hope for the future. I grew up lucky enough not to encounter any homophobia and the overwhelming support of the community has given me confidence Tate and Estelle will live a happy and fulfilled life without being judged for coming from a different family structure.

“I believe people are starting to realise that families like ours aren’t all that different from anyone else’s family.”

In a society where some children struggle to find love, Tate and Estelle are cherished by their unmarried male parents — plenty of games, reading, nourishment, care and hugs.

As a result They live in a house full of laughter and love as they learn to run, talk and learn about discover the world around them.

“You can never read a book to prepare you for parenting but the happiness our children bring to our lives is above and beyond anything I could have imagined,” Matt said.

“Their happiness and wellbeing is the number one most important thing to me in this world.”

And while the nappies and the feeding and the cleaning can be tiring, the couple believe love really can conquer all — even obstacles to same sex marriage.

“When it comes down to it and people actually see that the question about same sex marriage isn’t about politics but simply about two people who love each other wanting to get married, it is very hard to say no to that,” Mark said.

Expectant parents say legalising same-sex marriage will combat homophobia
Roxanne Wilson

Nat and Amy Broham are preparing to embark on the next big chapter in their lives together — parenthood.

Nat, 27, is 16 weeks pregnant with their first child through IVF and the Aberfoyle Park couple plan for Amy, 32, to carry the next baby — who will be conceived using the same sperm donor so their children are genetically linked.

“We know the love and beauty we have within our own relationship and family and to have the opportunity to bring a little person into that little circle ... regardless of the fact that we both happen to be female, our baby is going to be incredibly lucky to be born into such a loving and supportive unit,” Nat said.

Having a baby is a natural progression for the pair, who held a commitment ceremony in March 2013 at Middlebrook Estate, McLaren Vale.

“At the end of the day we didn’t know how long we would be waiting (for marriage equality) and it was really important we did it before children so we could show them those photographs,” Nat said. While they said the legality of their union doesn’t change their relationship — they won’t hold another wedding should same-sex marriage be legalised in Australia — they said giving same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples was an issue of equality.

“Outside of our relationship I really think it will help to combat homophobia,” Amy said. “Maybe that will challenge some people’s ideas around same-sex attraction; hopefully it is a step forward in accepting diversity.”

Nat added: “It would mean finally feeling equal to everybody else; that’s what it really comes down to.

“For us it is not cementing that commitment because we’re just as committed either way.

“It is about being acknowledged by the Government of the country we live in and are so proud of.”

The couple said the issue of marriage equality extended beyond their immediate relationship to their circle of family and friends. “It does hurt and it hurts our families,” Amy said.

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1 comment:

Carol Duckworth said...

Beautiful story! We here at the Center for Surrogate Parenting were the first to help a gay couple with surrogacy and are always very happy to see more and more couples across the globe being able to start a family!