The most powerful weapon we have is civil disobedience.
Just because the government says they will not recognise our relationships as we wish ourselves to be recognised does not mean that we can not or will not be married.
Jackie and I took it upon ourselves those years ago to arrange a ceremony that had meaning to us and to our family.
We announced our intention and those who loved us embraced our marriage and gave it the respect and standing equal to the other married couples they knew.
We assumed the language: marriage, wedding, wife, mother-in-law, father-in-law, niece, nephew, brother-in-law. We do not accept any inverted commas around our family relationships.
1. So, announce your engagement, plan your wedding, book your honeymoon, plan your children, buy your first home together. But it’s not just all romance. We lack the basic protections under the law enjoyed by boy-girl couples, so you need to see a lawyer first.
2. If you are asked by someone if you are married, and you have made that special commitment, tell them, Yes, we are! Refer to your in-laws in the same terms as you would if our marriages were legally recognised. I don’t need John Howard’s permission and neither do you.
3. If you are admitted to hospital and you are filling out the forms, put in as next of kin the person you would like to be making decisions on your behalf, the person you want doctors and nurses to inform about your progress, the person you want sitting by your side when you wake up from an anaesthetic. That may or may not be a blood relative -¦ but it should be your choice.
4. When you are asked your marital status on any official documents, fill in what you believe your marital status to be, not what this government tells you it is allowed to be.
5. Make no apologies for the fact that your marriage is not yet legally recognised. It is a classic Catch-22 and the best way we can resist it is to make our own arrangements.
6. When census time comes around again, fill in the part of the form that says spouse or married for marital status if you believe you are spiritually married. Let their computer go into meltdown trying to cope with same-sex spouses.
7. When you book your children into school, register the names of their parents -“ not necessarily their biological parents, but their real parents. If that means two, three or four names, then so be it.
8. Talk to your friends and family, straight and gay, about the issues we face. You will find many are unaware and would support our goals if they knew of the injustices.
9. Get involved in the democratic process and write to your local member of parliament. Better still, make an appointment to see them, get yourself prepared with material and put your case for justice. After all, they are there to represent all Australians. When it comes to politics, the more voters, the more it matters.
10. Demand a bill of rights to enshrine equal rights for same-sex couples.
There are many great minds and passionate souls working towards marriage and relationship equality in Australia. But be warned: there are larger and better organised numbers working against us.
The road to justice will take perseverance, passion, commitment to the cause and a united front. Whatever your personal views about marriage -“ you may not dream you could ever want to be married yourself -“ the point is that there are those in our community who do. Solidarity is about respecting the wishes of those couples and supporting their right to equality, your right to choose.
We are getting married and we are producing and raising children and the government is using every trick in the book in an attempt to make it go away. We will not go away.
Gay marriage is out there. It is happening. The revolution has arrived and it is about to get a lot noisier.
Show them that, frankly, we do give a damn!