I was brought up in suburban Melbourne by simple, honest working-class parents. While I am no longer practising, I was brought up Presbyterian.
My parents who at first were not sure how to come to terms with my sexuality are now fully supportive of my decision to be open and honest about who I am.
I remember their biggest fear for me was as any parent, scared. Scared that I would be ridiculed, bullied or disadvantaged.
Secondly they were disappointed. Not disappointed in me, but disappointed that I would not be able to experience some of the greatest pleasures in life such as openly meeting a person of my choice, marriage and, of course, having a family. These points were more important to them than the main point that I was gay.
When I was growing up, we had no Will and Grace, Modern Family or any other TV show that brought this topic into loungerooms and gave some explanation to a teenager that this is what you were feeling. You were not weird or mentally ill, which were the memories I recall. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I just wished I was normal.
Years have passed and, yes, the country is now far more educated to the fact that we don’t wake up one day and decide to have a relationship with a person of the same sex. Being gay is simply no different from anyone else being straight — it is just a part of our genetic makeup.
I have been blessed. I found my soulmate to share my life with nine years ago. We have a beautiful home and while we would love children, our dogs are spoilt silly in the meantime.
For us, the only thing left is to share the union of our relationship with not only our family and community and be accepted in all form as a united body by them, but also the law. For us, there is no other option than that of the recognition of our relationship. While marriage is our ultimate goal, so as not to be the gay couple on the corner who can’t get married like the rest of our neighbours and had some other thing.
The recognition of our relationship, be it civil union or marriage, is an ultimate acknowledgement of two people in love betrothing themselves in front of their family and friends, being accepted by the community at large as a joint entity and acknowledged by the laws in the country we live in. To us, that is what we want and ultimately deserve.
I don’t want to go into arguments about the pros and cons. We have all heard them many times before from the media. I just wanted to give you our situation. We both work hard, pay taxes, vote and do everything a person in the community can do.
For us, it is simply unjust that there is a piece of law, an Act of Parliament that can be so prejudiced to such a large proportion of the community without any just legal reason.
Guest Column by MICHAEL KERR