One of the most moving submissions on the marriage equality bill has come full circle in a beautiful Christchurch garden wedding. Ralph Jaeger writes on marrying the love of his life, Rob:
Rob and I were always going to have some sort of ceremony. I designed a ring and had it made and proposed February 29th so weâ€™d never have to think too hard to remember the date of the engagement. My mum was so delighted when I told her that her face nearly cracked in half from the smiles. My sister, in her last days, was overjoyed to see us so happy and a little sad she wouldnâ€™t get to see us have our civil union.
She died eight weeks later. And my mum, unexpectedly, died six weeks after that. And the civil union plans went on the back burner.
And then Louisaâ€™s Marriage Equality Bill came up and it felt right for us to be involved in that. We attended workshops, wrote and encouraged submissions, and stood with both queer and straight friends, tears in our eyes, when it passed the Third Reading. Because my mum and my sister wanted to see us married, not civil unioned.
I understand marriage is not for everyone, but no one should be denied the chance to marry who they love. Iâ€™m so grateful that a majority of New Zealand felt the same way and it saddens me that so much of the world is still denied this basic right: to publicly and legally acknowledge a loving commitment to the person of your choice.
Rob and I got married on Saturday. It has been the most joyous and loving few days. There was an impromptu and uproarious stag night which culminated in a straight Irish lad showing us his bum, declaring he wasnâ€™t gay and then snogging one our Bears quite thoroughly for a good hour or so. The wedding day had so many laughs, a promise of another Bear wedding in the not too distant future (looking at you North Carolina), a few tears as my beloved mother and sister were remembered with both sadness and laughter, and the hugest smile on mine and Robâ€™s faces as all the people we love best in the world were able to share our wedding day with us. In the end itâ€™s all about the love, and we are blessed with more than we can ever possibly pay back.
The week after, we prepare to go to Australia for our honeymoon (in preparation for a longer term move some time in the next few months) and it is a cool reminder that when we arrive there we will no longer be recognised as married. There is still work to do to make sure that love is equal everywhere and for everybody.
Ralph and Rob married at the Kate Sheppard House in Ilam - and say their hostess was utterly fabulous.
Congratulations Ralph and Rob!
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