An Australian couple made a rather unique show of support for same-sex marriage at their wedding—they had all the guests cover their ears.
Abbey and Mitchell Johnston, both 22, were excited about their upcoming nuptials. But they were disturbed when their officiant, Alison Bartlett, informed them that, by law, she had to specify that marriage is a relationship between “a man and a woman.”
“We told [her] that marriage equality was something that was extremely important to us as a couple and [asked if] could she tell everyone our views on this within the ceremony,” Abbey told the Daily Mail.
Bartlett obliged, but the Johnstons weren’t satisfied. “I thought to myself ’Is that all we can do?’ Surely such a bigoted statement should have no part in our personal marriage ceremony,” said Abbey.
She’d heard some officiants actually lower the volume on their microphones for the heterosexist statement, but she came up with her own plan: Everyone at the wedding would cover their ears when the time came.
“I nervously informed Mitchell of my idea hoping he wouldn’t think it was lame,” she said. “He initially laughed so hard he cried, and then he said ’Yes. Absolutely we have to do this. You are crazy and I love it!'”
Rodney Croome of Australians for Marriage Equality praised the Johnston’s decision: “This is one of the most effective protests against marriage discrimination I have ever seen,” he said. “It reflects how strongly many heterosexual Australians believe in all couples being treated equally.”
The Johnstons have been showered with appreciation for their gesture, but Abbey insists it was absolutely necessary.
“The purpose was to stand up and do something special. Something that was important to us,” she said. “To say to the government ’We are not okay with this.’ I fear that one day my future children will ask ’Mum did you get married when same-sex marriage was not legal?’ I wanted to show them that we didn’t just stand by. That we were proud of what we believed in, a very small act of defiance.”
Several bills that would legalize same-sex marriage have been proposed in Australia, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to oppose marriage equality.