Australia has voted. Yes has triumphed over No in the Marriage Equality Plebiscite, 61 percent to 38, clearing the way to legalise same sex marriage even maybe this year. Urban Village talked to two local couples impacted by the result.
Before they were lovers and partners, Liam Barrett was Glen Hare’s personal trainer.
“He did a promotion for his business The Camp Fitness and I was looking to meet people in a fitness environment, so I went along and I thought he was a bit of alright,” says Hare, who operates his own financial planning business Fox and Hare Wealth, in Riley Street.
“So we started doing training sessions, and after about six months of us hanging out then one day we kissed and there was no going back.
“That was three years ago, and no I don’t train with him anymore, but we do live together.”
Liam and Glen’s story is not too dissimilar to that of Sarah Greenaway and Brigitte Blackman.
The two met when friends persuaded them to join the Sydney Women’s Baseball League around 11 years ago.
“We were put in the same team, and got on very well,” says Greenaway.
“I quite liked Brigitte and I guess I pushed her a bit. She had not long come out of another relationship but I pursued her and here we are.”
Today, Greenaway and Blackman no longer play baseball. They made their own home run and have just about everything a married couple could have, apart from the certificate.
They have lived together in the same house for around ten years, and now have two children together.
“For us, we feel married anyway,” says Blackman, who is a partner in the Cobden & Hayson real estate agency in Crown Street.
“We have everything any other couple could have so marriage wouldn’t change that much for us, and it’s something we never considered could be possible until now.”
Both couples emphasise that even when they are legally able to marry, they won’t be necessarily rushing to run down the aisle immediately.
The issue, they say, has always been about their right to do so if they want.
“Anyway, I haven’t proposed yet, but I definitely want the opportunity to,” says Glen Hare.
“But we have talked about getting married. Everything from venues to location to what the rings are going to look like.
‘The whole thing is about being equal. We don’t want anything special just to be the same.
“It’s about equality. At one of the rallies I met up with my business partner, and her boyfriend is form the Dominican Republic, and it wasn’t so long ago that they couldn’t get married because he is black. That really put it in context for me.”
For Sarah and Brigitte, it’s all about their children. “I think we’ll put it to the kids when they are a bit older, and ask if they would like us too,” says Greenaway.
“If it is something that would be important to them, then we would get married.”
Another point of agreement between the couples is their fatigue at the marriage equality debate.
The protracted campaign and the politicking has shone an unwelcome light onto people who simply want to go on living their own lives, but with the same legal rights as the rest of the population.
“I was losing a lot of sleep over it,” says Liam Barrett. “I was signing into Facebook and just scrolling through articles and I’d be sucked into the comments, the stupid things people were saying.
“I’d replay them in my head and I’d still be awake, lying in bed at 3 a.m. going through it all.”
Sarah Greenaway says the debate was “derailing our everyday life.”
“We are workers, parents, law abiding people and we are not interested in prolonging this,” she says.
“I don’t get involved in other people’s agendas, is not my right to do that and step on other people.
“But I do believe that this is going to lie down and pass. They are not going to get rid of us and it will come through and it will happen.”
While it has been an exhausting process, both couples have been heartened by the support of friends and family during the plebiscite campaign.
They extend sympathy to people isolated by geography or through other factors which have meant they have faced the issues alone.
“We’ve had such great support, and that has extended to all of our straight friends who are right behind this,” says Greenaway.
“Family members have been having discussions with their friends, and saying that because they have a daughter who is effected by this can they vote Yes as gesture of support.”
Glen Hare says he was gratified to see one of his old high school friends post a pro Yes post on Facebook.
“He is straight, but he posted that it was really important for people to vote Yes,” says Hare.
“He is in a different network to me, and is not exposed to the issue all the time but he still understood how important this is and I was really appreciative of someone like him who doesn’t live in the ‘bubble’.
“I felt that it was more powerful coming from him.”