Normally the master of ceremonies, Geelong civil celebrant John Terry Moore traded places last Sunday to formalise his partnership with the man he has loved for 25 years, Russell Baum.

The couple first met at the old Caulfield sauna -” we walked in, and our eyes met and that was it.

That was a Sunday night in 1983. By the next Thursday they were living together.

I didn’t hesitate and neither did he, Moore told Sydney Star Observer.

The ceremony was held in a Geelong cafe against a backdrop of the gay pride and Australian flags before a group of around 80 family and friends.

The two exchanged vows of commitment and used the celebration as a platform to highlight the need to fight homophobia.

We feel that the timing was right to do it at this time and we’ve done it not just for our own sake but for the sake of the younger generation coming on.

We’re determined that it was time for us to stand up, and we feel very pleased and very happy and very content we’ve done it.

Although no official partnership was registered on the day, the couple will be taking up the opportunity to register their relationship at the end of the year when Victorian laws are enacted to allow same-sex couples to register their relationships.

The ceremony was officiated by friend and celebrant, Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, who attended with his partner Adrian and his two-year-old son, Ruben.

Moore addressed the crowd after the ceremony, saying as a funeral celebrant he had buried young people who had taken their own lives due to homophobic attitudes in the community and felt this sparked a need to make the couple’s day a stand against homophobia.

Although the couple will register their relationship at the end of the year, Moore said it’s disappointing ceremonial aspects of the registry are not included.

It is an office, and it will remain an office and just saying you can go in, coldly and calmly, sign your name on the dotted line, there’s no ceremony with it at all, he said.

Ceremony is ultimately very important, it’s almost more important than the legalities because it helps family and friends and every couple, whether they are gay, straight or transgendered or bisexual or whoever … when two people come together, then it’s very important to have some sort of affirmation with family and friends.

One of the quirky vows the two exchanged was a promise to always take the garbage out on Tuesdays.

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