ACT News


Couple say finally, and it's now Australia's turn

Catalina Parish, who tied the knot with her girlfriend Aimee Moore in Canberra the day before Valentine's Day two years ago, was feeling emotional yesterday in the wake of United States President Barack Obama's support for gay marriage.

''I heard the news over the radio and almost crashed the car. It's one of those things you don't really expect to hear on the radio when you're driving to work in the morning,'' she said, with a laugh.

''For me it was sort of an 'Aha' moment. You just go, 'Finally'. And I really hope our Parliament and our government lead by example. We're going to be behind the times otherwise.''

Both Catalina and Aimee, who legally changed her name to Parish after their civil union ceremony, believed the pressure was now on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to change her stance, even though Ms Gillard yesterday remained steadfast in her views.

''I believe everyone's entitled to their own opinion, 100 per cent,'' Catalina said.

''But I think that when we have such close ties to the US, she should start to feel the pressure. I would hope that she really does see that it's time for change and that we aren't in the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages. We're at a time when being a same-sex couple is not the same as it was even 10 years ago.


''Now we are in a generation where we do want equal rights and we want to tell people we are exactly the same. We really are no different. We love who we love.''

Catalina, 24, was most impressed by President Obama saying part of the reason he supported gay marriage was that his daughters Malia and Sasha ''have friends whose parents are same-sex couples'' and that ''it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently''.

''It doesn't make sense to them and frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective,'' he told the American ABC News.

Catalina and Aimee, 31, both public servants, from Macarthur, said while they had the big white wedding and celebrated with their friends and family, they still want to take that further step and make their marriage legal.

''In Canberra, yes, I have a civil partnership but I don't have the same rights in our relationship in general,'' Aimee said.

''We're not recognised as being married when we go for a loan. Some government departments recognise us and some don't. If we were to have children, depending on who actually gave birth, the other person would have to adopt the child.''

Aimee wanted the freedom to call Catalina her wife. ''It's not a big thing for a heterosexual couple to say, 'This is my husband' and for it to be a normal thing whereas I don't have that. I can only say this is my partner with whom I have exactly the same relationship,'' she said.

''There's nothing I can substantiate my relationship. It's like having a girlfriend.''

Catalina said they were like any other married couple - ''we still have to pay the bills, we still have to go to work every day'' - and an endorsement from the most powerful man in the world was cause for celebration. ''A moment like this is just another step in the right direction where our marriage certificate will be exactly the same, our rights will be exactly the same.

''We'll be entitled to the same things.

''This is just a monumental moment. I've got a lot of friends in the US and I just hope for them today is a day of victory,'' she said.