PETER de Waal and Peter Bonsall-Boone have been together fifty years.
After decades of fighting for their rights and even being charged under historic anti-gay laws, the couple have seen many of the social discriminations against gay people break down over time.
Now Bonsall-Boone, 78, has been diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer, and is terminal. His final wish is to be able to marry his partner.
“For us, it’s a really urgent matter,” said de Waal. “We’ve been second-class citizens for all of the fifty years we’ve been together. I would feel pretty awful if Bon were to die as a second-class citizen.”
“In looking forward to dying, one of my sorrows is that I’m not taking Peter with me,” said Bonsall-Boone.
“I am going to miss him like crazy. Marriage for Peter and me would be a great sort of fulfilment of many years of association and love.”
The couple, who have long been involved in LGBTI activism including the 1978 Sydney protests, fear the “hate and misinformation” that would come from a public campaign or plebiscite for marriage equality.
“The plebiscite, for us, was absolutely horrific,” said de Waal. “We’ve lived through all those eras and we know what it is like.”
This week, de Waal and Bonsall-Boone have personally mailed their plea for marriage equality to the Prime Minister.
The letter reads, “Dear Mr Turnbull, You can make our wish come true. But please do it quickly as Bon’s time is fast running out!”
“It should just be waved straight through,” said Bonsall-Boone. “It is so insignificant on the whole, but absolutely vital for people like us.”