Words By: Helene Lambetsos
Image Source: ABC News
Anyone, in all facets of Australia, is aware of the gay marriage debate: and you can be sure they have an opinion on it. Lately, politician’s lack of attempts to push legislation through that would allow same-sex couples to marry has been a sore spot for LGBT groups and allies. But so much has the issue become politicised, that sometimes we fail to see the personal lives caught in the crossfire. But today, a Tasmanian couple has reminded us of that.
Sandra Yates and her partner Lee Bransden have fulfilled a dying wish of getting married. Ms Bransden, who’s been given just weeks to live due to a lung disease, and Ms Yates were unable to be married in Australia, so had the ceremony in Rotorua, New Zealand.
The ceremony was traditionally Maori, with Maori warriors arriving by canoe, amongst a spring surrounded by huge man ferns, where the couple exchanged their vows.
“The warriors came down in their canoe, it was so emotional, beautiful with their chant and their fire and their canoe all done up, it was just beautiful,” Ms Yates said.
“I thought it would be an anti-climax but it isn’t, we feel great.”
The couple’s trip and wedding were funded by an online campaign run by Australian Marriage Equality, after they heard their story.
But Ms Yates said she only wished she could have had the ceremony back home.
“If Australia would allow same-sex marriage that would have been more special to be recognised in Australia.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome congratulated the newlyweds.
“Their marriage is a reminder that marriage equality is an urgent reform that many couples, like Lee and Sandra, can no longer wait for,” he said.