Since same-sex marriage is illegal in Australia, Michelle and Trae, of Sydney, traveled to Washington, D.C. to exchange marriage vows at the Jefferson Memorial.
Michelle and Trae reflect on their first year of marriage after celebrating their anniversary on Sept. 16, 2011:
“We decided to get married in the USA, we call it our second home as the American people have always approached us with open arms. I wrote to the Mayor of Washington DC to ‘ask’ if we could get married in the USA even though we were a same-sex couple and Australians! The Mayor’s office immediately replied with “Congratulations on your decision to get married in the District of Columbia. Ms. Rogers-thank you for writing us about this. How exciting!! I do not think there is any problem with you coming from Australia to do this in Washington, DC and we would be honored to have you here for such an occasion.” By September 16, 2010 we were legally married in Washington DC. It was a dream, it was our Wedding day, and we were just like any in love heterosexual couple would be, elated and complete.
Then we came home, to Australia. Our marriage is not legally recognized. Trae and I decided to apply for a mortgage and buy our first home together. Taking out a massive loan and buying a home is stressful enough, but consider this, Trae and I made a legal will to protect each other if we should come to harm and leave the other with a mortgage to pay alone. As we are not legally recognized as married in Australia our families can contest the will and be awarded the entire estate.
As we are not legally recognized as married in Australia the life insurance, critical illness insurance, permanent disability insurance we now both have can also be contested? If we did not have a loving, respectful and supportive family what would happen to the other if one of us should die?
In Australia everyone we deal with on a day-to-day basis considers Trae and I married without reservation. Our bank manager, our mortgage broker, our insurance broker, boss, lawyer, friends, family and work associates are all 100% supportive and are quite frankly ‘over the issue’ as we are. Our government however does not agree.
So off we go, Trae and I ‘Love Tank Full’, paintbrush in hand to our new home filled with laughter, respect and oodles of love for each other. One year on and even more in love each day.”
Nearly a dozen same-sex couples are married on March 20, 2010 at the Andrew W. Mellon Building in Washington, D.C. The “Our Time has Come” ceremony, held a week after gay marriage was legalized in the District, was organized to symbolize marriage equality