Andrew: We met a decade ago at the very first Canberra SpringOut Gay and Lesbian Festival just a few minutes before midnight on 13 November 1999. It is funny how I still remember the exact time and date.
Anthony: I was visiting Canberra for the first time.
Andrew: Yeah and I was going to a major gay and lesbian event for the first time. I was a bit of a late bloomer, I had only recently come out, aged 26.
Anthony: Like so many couples, we battled against the odds to make it work. We spent the first year of our relationship in different cities. Many weekends were spent travelling highways along the east coast of Australia to be together.
Andrew: After a year of this, I managed to lure him to Canberra AND... to live with me. Since then we’ve bought a home together and added a couple of spoilt cats to our modern family.
This campaign demonstrates leadership on an important social issue. All loving, committed relationships deserve to be treated equally and to be celebrated.
Anthony: Over the years we have experienced pretty much everything - from having to pretend we were single on our annual tax returns to awkward "negotiations" at a hotel over why we needed a double room rather than a twin!
Andrew: Sometimes it can be the most subtle form of discrimination, for example, there are still public events I attend with my political colleagues where Anthony will be the only partner not formally acknowledged.
These reforms are all about strengthening relationships. Strong relationships deliver important benefits to us all. We all define ourselves, in some way, by those we choose to share our lives with. Love, trust, intimacy and commitment are to be found at the heart of all good relationships.
Gay men and lesbians are part of our community. We are not nameless, faceless people who live on the margins of society. We deserve the respect and dignity afforded to others; we deserve equality. We deserve this equality not only because it is functional and practical but because it is also highly symbolic. It allows us to hold our heads up high as equal members of the community and to celebrate our relationships, confident in their standing. It is about dignity.
Andrew: It is pretty cool. Simple and elegant. I don't mind a bit of propaganda art. Spend any time in politics and you'll be accused of using the odd bit of propaganda to drum up support for your policies. I guess it is the right shirt for me!
Anthony: (laughs)... yeah what he said