Rainbow smiles on Sawtell
THE Coffs Coast celebrated one colourful same-sex marriage last week.
The happy couple, Jackie and Joanne, travelled from Quirindi to tie the knot on Sawtell in front of family, friends and beachgoers.
The newlyweds have been together for more than 27 years, and are among the first of their Australian friends to get married since the same-sex marriage bill came into effect.
Living in a small community, the newlyweds say their town has always supported and embraced them as a couple and was excited to hear they had decided to take their relationship to the next level.
They say people in their community, their wedding celebrant Sam Dawson, and those involved in the preparations for their wedding day were supportive and welcoming.
"People from every demographic have wished us well and are absolutely delighted for us,” Jackie said.
"Of course, there are those who don't support same-sex marriage, but that is their choice.
"No one has expressed any negativity to us.”
Like many couples, Joanne and Jackie saw their marriage as a celebration of their love.
However, gaining equal legal rights was the main reason they decided to tie the knot.
"For us, the most important reason for getting married is so we both have legal protection should anything happen to us,” Joanne said.
"As a couple, we won't feel or act any differently, but we will have peace of mind from a legal point of view.”
Although the couple said the recent debate surrounding same-sex marriage should not have been open to the public, they thanked those who made their wedding a reality.
"We would like to thank everyone who has supported the gay community in our quest for marriage equality,” Joanne said.