Plans for 2DAY FM’s gay wedding are back on track after the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) initially refused permission for the ceremony to be held in The Rocks because same-sex marriage was illegal.
On Monday the SHFA informed the station the event could not take place at the picturesque location of First Fleet Park for fears it might have been in breach of section 100 of the Marriage Act and expose the Authority to an offence.
Section 100 of the Marriage Act states: A person shall not solemnise a marriage, or purport to solemnise a marriage, if the person has reason to believe that there is a legal impediment to the marriage or if the person has reason to believe the marriage would be void.
But after discussions with 2DAY FM -“ and a rumoured intervention by NSW minister for Planning Frank Sartor -“ the SHFA changed its mind.
Our initial concern with your submission was a legal one, SHFA CEO Dr Robert Lang said in a statement to the station on Tuesday.
However, from discussions with you today I understand the intention is to hold an exchange of vows for a gay couple. I am therefore prepared to grant approval for 2DAY FM to hire First Fleet Park for an exchange of vows ceremony.
An SHFA spokesperson told Sydney Star Observer the government body was concerned by the use of the word illegal in 2DAY FM’s promotion for the event as Sydney’s First Illegal Gay Wedding.
Their fears were allayed when they realised no illegal activity would actually take place.
Geoff Field, newsreader on the Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O show, said he was delighted and relieved his unofficial wedding to his partner of 13 years, Jason Kerr, will go ahead as planned on Friday 25 November.
I’m really looking forward to the day, and I’d like to encourage members of the gay and lesbian community to come down and show their support, he said.
A Metropolitan Community Church minister will preside over the ceremony. Friends and family will then head off to a private reception at a nearby location.
The radio station and breakfast show presenters, Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, have been heavily promoting the event in their program, on the website and in TV commercials.
Two weeks ago Sandilands told the Star he hoped the promotion of the wedding would help spread acceptance of same-sex couples.
I hope it will do something. Even if it flags parent-child discussion, he said.
Visitors to the 2DAY FM website can sign a petition supporting same-sex marriage which will be sent to the federal Senate.
With your support we may be able to influence our governments to reconsider their position, the petition reads.
A recent SMS poll on the Kylie and Jackie O show indicated 71 percent of listeners felt same-sex marriages should be legal.
The federal government changed the Commonwealth Marriage Act in August 2004 to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others in a bid to pre-empt legal challenges by gay couples.