*As seen on the official Khloe Kardashian website www.khloewithak.com*

There’s a lot you feel when you get engaged.

Shock gives way to happiness. Happiness gives way to ecstasy. As the day you’ve been thinking about since you were young finally becomes a reality.

There’s a lot you do when you get engaged.

You try to keep your eyes off the ring for half a minute. You call your friends and family. You think about the daunting task of actually planning an entire wedding.  You push to the back of your mind how much this whole thing could end up costing you.

Unfortunately, however, for some people in Australia, there’s also one thing you have to think when you get engaged.

‘Can I legally get married in my country?’

It’s not something you want to have to be thinking about, let alone something you have time to be thinking about.

When it comes to being engaged, and planning the subsequent wedding, there’s far more pressing things you’d rather have on your mind.

What suit am I going to wear?

Do I call the females in my wedding party ‘Groomsmaids’ or ‘Bridesmen’?

Does the celebrant say “I know pronounce you husbands for life” or “Yasss Queens, you’re married – slay!”?

There are enough questions you have to answer before the ‘big day’, the last thing that needs to be on your mind is asking, ‘is it OK with my country if I get married here?”

 

Marriage equality is something that has been swelling in Australian society for years now, but even today there seems to be no hint of a resolution in sight.

Years ago it seemed like a simple step forward in humanity that society surely couldn’t ignore for too much longer.

It’s quite a simple idea. If a man and woman, from whatever background, religion, country or lifestyle could get married – why couldn’t this same opportunity be extended to two people who shared the same gender?

Unfortunately, it seems that some people have such an issue simply with same-sex attracted members of the community, that the thought of someone with these attractions having the ability to fall in love and have this love treated on the same level as a heterosexual couple is something they just can’t accept.

They disagree with it so strongly that they bring it upon themselves to try and use their own actions to control how the LGBT community live.

Whether it be through attempting to control our emotions, by calling us names or treating us in a derogatory manner.

Or through not allowing our love to be seen as equal both on a societal and legal level, in an attempt to make our love less real.

It occurred to me as soon as I became engaged to my partner, that there was no way that I would allow these unjust and bigoted opinions and actions affect the way we felt about each other, and how we choose to express this love.

And so, legal or not, we set a date for our wedding.

 

I know that our wedding won’t be the same as any wedding I’ve been to in the past – after all, I’m under no illusion that two dudes marrying will be exactly the same as a man marrying a woman.

Although sometimes the differences go beyond the fun and humour of wondering if your Dad will ‘give you away’ or wondering if there can be two Bucks Days for the same wedding.

Even in the earliest stages of our journey, there have already been conversations between my fiancée and me that shouldn’t have to happen.

‘Do you think they’ll want to come? I don’t know how comfortable they are with this whole thing’
and
‘Do we tell them that we’re a same-sex couple before we organize a tour of the venue? I’m not sure if they’ll let us get married there’.

As unfair and as heartbreaking as the fact that someone would turn down an invitation, or that we may not be able to hire a certain venue to be married in – we have to move forward, put this behind us and continue enjoying this journey together.

I have been asked a few times if I am going to go to another country to be married, or if I will wait for the government to legalise same-sex marriages before I get married in my home country.

But to be honest, it’s become tiring living my life on someone else’s terms.

After spending years of my life trying to live up to society’s expectations of me and working to ensure that I don’t disrupt the status-quo, I have become tired of allowing others control how I feel and how I act.

Whether it be by hiding my sexuality, or allowing negative opinions control how I felt about myself and my relationships.

It is now that I put my foot down, and stop allowing external forces to dictate how I live my life.

Me and my partner, exchanging rings and vows, and being married.

That is something that cannot be taken away from me no matter how many protests, tweets or flyers there are to tell me otherwise.

So call me names, sure. But don’t try and stop me from being married to my partner.

 

Not even a pointless national survey that asks people how they feel about same-sex marriages will weaken this resolve.

Unfortunately, a proposed $160m, non-binding plebiscite will put my relationship status on show as a ‘national Facebook post’, with both sides campaigning for the most ‘likes’.

It’s not every day that the government needs to ask the country if you should be treated equally.

It’s also not every day that there will be a counter-campaign on your televisions and in your newspapers trying to convince society that you are not deserving of equal rights.

Although I know that the result of the plebiscite, good or bad, will in no way impact how I feel about my wedding. I can’t say the same for how it will affect how I feel personally, how my fiancée feels, and how the entire LGBT community will feel after being exposed to such harmful messages.

Some of us have made it through high school. Some of us have made it through the ‘closet’ period. Some of us have been able to turn a negative into a positive and move forward in our lives.

Some of us have made it completely unscathed. And some of us have scars that run deep.

No matter what state we may be in right now, it’s a fact that there can be no positives that come from a nation-wide campaign with the intention of turning our country against us.

This isn’t just about a wedding.

This is about how we feel in our homes, in our community, and beyond.

This is about setting a precedent for how we deserve to be treated overall.

If we aren’t ‘deserving’ of this right, of being treated the same as the person next to us, what’s to stop someone assuming then that we don’t deserve respect and a normal, happy life?

Unfortunately, there will be no stopping the plebiscite if it comes to be.

But to the people who legislate that a ‘for and against’ campaign is the only way to make marriage equality a reality – expect to have the blood of innocent people caught in the crossfire on your hands.

We are real people. With real emotions. Who don’t deserve to have our rights up for grabs to the strongest campaigner.

 

It was always going to be so much bigger than just having the right to be married.

I will be saying ‘I Do’, even if my country says ‘I Don’t’.

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