FAM­ILY ALL ABOUT CAR­ING, SHAR­ING

Sunday Tasmanian - - News | Letters -

EAR­LIER this month, my hus­band of 14 years and I at­tended a party cel­e­brat­ing my nephew’s first birth­day.

We drove there, pick­ing up my hus­band’s par­ents – my mother-in-law and fa­ther-in-law – along the way. Two of my sis­ters-in-law and broth­ers-in­law were there, plus my nephew’s other grand­mother, his step­grand­fa­ther, three of his aun­ties and one un­cle from his mum’s side of the fam­ily, and more than a dozen of his cousins.

We all en­joyed shar­ing food, telling sto­ries and play­ing with the chil­dren, tak­ing turns to hold the birth­day boy.

I care­fully pushed my nephew around on a tri­cy­cle, much to his de­light, and waited at the bot­tom of the slide to catch him and my 10-year-old niece, who nursed him on her lap as she came down the slide.

I’ve never seen my nephew smile so much.

The bonds that ex­ist be­tween me and my hus­band’s fam­ily have been built up over time and through the ex­pe­ri­ences, com­mon to most fam­i­lies, that I have shared with his fam­ily and that they have shared with me.

To­gether we have mourned the deaths of el­derly grand­par­ents and cel­e­brated the births of nieces and neph­ews.

We’ve cared for fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing times of ill­ness, and helped each other pack up busi­nesses and move house.

We’ve shared meals and helped out with babysit­ting and child-mind­ing.

We’ve cel­e­brated house­warm­ings, wed­dings, birthdays and Christ­mases to­gether. Fam­ily is very im­por­tant to us. In re­al­ity I’m not mar­ried, and none of th­ese re­la­tion­ships are of­fi­cial be­cause I’m not al­lowed to marry my same-sex part­ner.

Mar­riage equal­ity will fur­ther strengthen my fam­ily, de­spite the lie ped­dled by some op­po­nents that it is a threat to the fam­ily.

I would like to be able to in­vite my fam­ily, th­ese peo­ple I love and who love me, to my wed­ding but, for no good rea­son that I can think of, I need to ask for your per­mis­sion to marry my part­ner first.

Do I have your per­mis­sion? Yes or no?

Richard Hale South Ho­bart

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