On the eve of Australia’s first gay wedding, Griffith hairdresser Richard Brewer has emerged as an unlikely hero in the fight for marriage equality.
In May, the 38-year-old announced his desire to have the MIA’s first gay Bollywood wedding under a legal arrangement called the Evermore Pledge – which provides an interim solution to those affected by Australia’s same sex marriage ban.
Gold Coast marriage celebrant Michelle Anderson devised the pledge to provide gay couples with the same legal and financial protections as marrying heterosexual couples.
After The Area News article, Mr Brewer was contacted by Ms Anderson and invited to the Gold Coast Evermore Pledge launch.
“We’ve also had loads of support here… in Griffith, a lot of people have a gay relative and can see marriage is a basic human right,” Mr Brewer, who wants to marry partner Justin Bennett, said.
Almost 80 per cent of respondents to The Area News poll said gay couples should be allowed to get married, regardless of what the government says.
On July 1, lesbian couple Carly Naughton and Alee Fogarty will be the first to have a wedding ceremony under the Evermore pledge. It will be held on the Gold Coast.
“We’ve got another three weddings booked for July, and another 60 couples who want to get married over the next six months,” Ms Anderson said.
Ms Anderson would like to see gay marriage legalised in Australia. But with the debate stalled in federal parliament, she doesn’t see why gay couples should have wait to for all the legal, financial and social benefits of marriage.
“We don’t see this as an alternative to legal same sex marriage, but an interim solution. We hope to expedite the government’s position,” she said.
Mr Brewer also can’t understand the current stalemate, and likens banning same sex marriage to prohibiting mixed race marriage.
“We really need to put this issue behind us so we can move on to the issues that are really important.”
Mr Brewer said he will get married under the Evermore pledge if Australia’s gay marriage ban persists.
“Like anyone else, we’ve got to save a lot of money to get married, so it may be a while yet.”
Ms Anderson had originally said an Evermore pledge arrangement – covering next of kin, Wills, beneficiaries, child custody, social security, superannuation, taxation and property arrangements – would cost almost $6,000. But she’s now working on a budget version covering the essentials for less than $3,000.
Ms Anderson said doing each of these things separately can cost up to $20,000.