Tomorrow’s Purchas Cup in Melbourne will be a huge day of games and celebration in support of the LGBTI community.

The cup sees all the gay-inclusive rugby teams in Australia and New Zealand come together.

Charlie Winn and Steve Thorne, co-founders of the Sydney Convicts, said the cup is an important moment for equality in sports, and that even if the ‘no’ side wins the marriage equality debate, the fact that Australian Rugby Union came out to support the community is a win in itself.

“The tournament means a lot,” said Winn.

Winn and Thorne have been married since 2012, and look forward to the day their union will be recognised in Australia. They met through the Convicts and have been together for 13 years.

“We got married in the eyes of our family and friends, and we’re waiting for marriage equality to become real to have our relationship recognised formally by the government,” said Winn.

When the pair were younger they never thought they would see sports backing an end to homophobia, let alone backing marriage equality.

“I’ve been playing rugby since I was ten,” said Winn.

“I have seen a transformation, not only within the Australian community, but within the rugby community. The Convicts have been fantastic from the start.

“Australian Rugby Union supporting marriage equality… that we’re equal in their eyes—it feels fantastic.”

The Purchas Cup is the annual Australasian Gay Rugby Championship. The day kicks off at 9 am tomorrow at Orrong Romanis Reserve in Prahran.

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