Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s openly gay sister Christine Forster announced her engagement to her partner Virginia Edwards on Monday. Forster acknowledged that given the current political climate regarding same-sex marriage, “it might be a long engagement”.
Forster, the City of Sydney’s Liberal Party councillor, proposed to Edwards in March of this year while on holiday with friends in Broken Hill. The couple said that they want to marry in an intimate setting and hope the nuptials will be recognised by a federal marriage act.
“And instead of bridesmaids, we’re going to have drag queens,” added Edwards.
“It’s a bit difficult, really, because we’ve decided we want to get married here in Sydney, hopefully under a federal marriage act but it might be under a NSW act. It’s where our friends and family are. For us it’s really important that we are married in our home and that our marriage is recognised in our home, which is here,” said Forster.
The two have kept the news of the engagement quiet and say they will not start making definite wedding plans until they are able to enter into a legal union. Forster explained that “in realistic terms it could be years, but I hope not. I’m really confident that it will happen sooner rather than later”.
While members of the ACT’s Legislative Council voted in favour of marriage equality on Tuesday, Forster’s brother Tony Abbott continues to stand in opposition. Abbott supported the ACT court challenge and reasoned that it was about preserving a “uniform approach throughout the commonwealth” to marriage laws.
Despite their differences of opinion, when asked if Abbott would be an attendee at her wedding Forster responded that “it will be close friends and family. Tony and Margie will definitely be there”.
Forster added that she supports state and territory marriage equality bills but believes that “the important thing is the federal act, that’s what we need to get changed”.