Comedians Rhys Nicholson and Zoe Coombs Marr were ‘married’ in a mock ceremony over the weekend to highlight marriage inequality in Australia and to raise funds for LGBTI youth organisation Minus18.

Both of their same-sex partners were in attendance, along with a slew of other comedians including flower girl Judith Lucy and emcee Hannah Gadsby.

Marr said the idea came one night when the pair began to think how ludicrous it would be to marry each other instead of their partners.

“The more I thought about it, the more I felt we had to do it, because it’s not that often you’re able to make a radical act like this one,” she told the Star Observer.

“Weddings are awkward, difficult things for gay people – being surrounded by straight people who support you but can’t really understand what you’re feeling is a sorrow and loneliness that is hard to articulate.

“I have never aspired to marriage and I still don’t but there is a real weight to weddings and to marriage, as an important and loaded right of passage.

“It’s all of this we wanted to really highlight, to put it onstage and make people look at it and feel confronted by it, both gay and straight.”

The wedding was held as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

As emcee of the evening, Gadsby delivered a speech about the importance of equality and inclusion, and ensuring those privileged enough to be included fight for those who aren’t.

Marr said given the current climate around marriage equality in Australia, it’s important to continue fighting and speaking out loudly in support.

“With a looming plebiscite and the potential loudspeaker being handed to those lovely archaic bigots out there, I think it’s vital for us to take a stand and continue to fight,” she said.

“It’s also important that we maintain a spirit of radicalism and rebellion, and if we do get ‘equal rights’, we don’t forget where we came from, or the fights that still need to go on.

“I mean those other vulnerable groups – our truly wronged refugees, our Indigenous population – marriage equality needs to happen so we can come closer to addressing real equality.”

For Nicholson the idea of getting ‘married’ to Marr was perfect and hilarious.

“It was so simple,” he told the Star Observer.

“To highlight the fact we can’t marry the people we love, we’ll marry each other.

“Backstage we both had a bit of a freak out, it was what I’d imagine people feel like if they’re getting married for love.

“But the moment for me was when we kissed our partners – so much of it was about imagery for us, seeing a woman in a wedding dress pashing another woman.”

The wedding aimed to raise funds for sexuality and gender diverse youth organisation Minus18, which recently held a major same-sex formal in Melbourne.

Nicholson said choosing the organisation to donate money to was an easy decision.

“We wanted to make sure it was a youth-based organisation,” he said.

“Both Zoe and I grew up queer in small towns so what Minus18 does is important to us.”

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