Marriage Equality: A History

Written by scott on June 19th, 2014

Terri Everett – a friend of ours from New Zealand, put together a history marriage equality around the world and in New Zealand.

DSCF6395

Most people think it’s quite a modern argument that same sex couples should have the right to be married and celebrate their love with their choice of partner without conditions but if we look back in time it’s been an ongoing subject almost as far back as written history began.

IMG_3054Before Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire same sex couples including emperors of the realm openly married a same sex partner which was seen as completely acceptable but as Christianity took hold in 342 AD a new law was issued by Emperor Constantius prohibiting same sex couples being able to marry and all couples in such a relationship were sentenced to death and so started the attitude that some people did not have the same rights as others.

This set in stone for centuries that a person who felt compelled to love another of same gender would have to be hidden away behind closed doors and risk their safety should the information come out. Frustrations lead to secrecy and manipulation of truths and a lack of understanding and sympathy for a totally normal behaviour.

Many gay people felt they were mentally ill or unclean and it lead to great sadness and often suicide? As people were brainwashed through Christian belief they understood that homosexual people were dirty and evil and more likely to commit sexual crimes. There is no study to prove this conclusion.

During the middle Ages on the 16th April 1061 it was recorded, at a time where most believe this kind of behaviour would warrant burning at the stake a priest in a small Spanish chapel performed a same-sex marriage between two men Pedro Diaz and Muno Vandilaz. The historic documents found proving the event took place were found in a Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova, once again showing that same sex weddings were acceptable in history and that our modern lives are less accepting and more brain washed than medieval times.

In the early 1900 the taboo subject was explored by a German called George Steindorff who reported that homosexual relationships were common place and often with couples performing a form of marriage commitment probably in secret existed.

IMG_3054Until 1973, there wasn’t any law forbidding same sex couples to be married just the fear of God but astonishingly in January 1973 Maryland in the USA was the first state to ban same sex marriage and over the next 20 years most states in the USA had banned the act.

We have been forced to accept through the bulling religion strong beliefs which governed the modern western law that a same sex couple is un-natural and sinful but as time moves on and more people speak out for equal rights in many areas of difference it has slowly been recognised as unlawful and unacceptable to control the freedom of choice for a person’s needs and desire. These needs and desire are personal and as long as they are not harmful to other living beings should not be frowned upon in any way.

With the AIDS epidemic, more pressure was put onto “homosexual tendencies” as it was nick named, calling AIDS the “gay disease” and once again scare mongering in the media screamed out that the disease could be easily spread with just a touch, thus opening the flood gates of ridicule. Princess Diana broke the fear with her bravery to go against the grain and held the hand of a dying homosexual aide’s victim with her natural tenderness and strength against the negative as if to wash away all speculation.

20140224_115734Many couples have lodged applications through history to be married to the same gender but were refused that right until recently as social media took hold and other likeminded people could openly express their feelings in the world audience from the safety of their own home and found that they were not the only ones fighting what at that time was an icolated losing battle. Many blogs and social media pages started to pop up with a tsunami of support gaining momentum washing away the decades of attitude and bringing the reality to light that the closeted culture had to change and acceptance for our fellow beings rights needed to be addressed.

As early as 1989 Denmark become the first country in the world to recognize same sex unions after passing a bill legalizing “registered partnerships” in a vote of 71-47. Many countries followed suit but the arguments continued against as fast as they became accepted in one area, they would be tightened up in another.

Often the argument was due to peer pressure and as individuals could see the subject loosen they joined the battle for same sex marriage.

With a new millennium came a new thinking as social media grew in popularity and in April 2000 the US state of Vermont was the first to sign a civil union bill ruling same sex couples were entitled to the same rights as opposite sex couples and in turn giving same sex couples the same right of marriage as any other. Holland shortly followed in being the first country to follow suit when they signed a law for same sex marriage in 2001 after a vote of 109 to 33 against.

So attitudes were changing, and I was proud to be part of that thinking and watched from my own small town Kaiteriteri in New Zealand, commenting and fighting where I could for the cause. I saw the tidal wave of events as one place after another followed in those first footsteps.

As a wedding business owner I was obviously excited of the prospect for more business coming my way, however astonished to have comments from fellow business owners in the same industry advising that brining my business to the attention of same sex couples could be the down fall of my success. I was happy to clearly state that if I was too lose business it would only be from those who could not accept this thinking and that would not be a great loss to me.

DSCF6349As The Dream Maker an event management business before New Zealand accepted Same Sex marriage as legal, I was involved in arranging a civil union for a same sex couple of more than 6 years, prepared to travel from Scotland to New Zealand for their event and celebration. We communicated over the months as I helped perfect their plans for a beach wedding in the Abel Tasman National Park and I learnt of their personal difficulties to be accepted as a couple and our bond grew beyond a professional one into a friendship.

Plans were going well, organizing everything from their groups car hire, accommodation and holiday itinerary with two scenic bus tours taking in wineries and art studios as well as everything they needed for their wedding event. During this planning the hype of a law change in New Zealand grew almost overnight and each day a new announcement of another state in the USA would cross our screens and soon a date was set for the vote to take place in New Zealand.

It was the encouragement of this couple who asked if I would be their celebrant for the civil union. I applied to become New Zealand Civil Union and Marriage Celebrant and was delighted to be accepted. Anticipating a civil union, we sat on the edge of our seats to hear a vote of 77 for and 44 against in parliament accompanied with some of the most iconic speeches ever read in the government house, we were in shock to hear the confirmation announcement “New Zealand had become the 13th (lucky for some) country and the first in the Oceania to legalize same sex marriage”, which came into effect on 19th August 2013.

In February 2014 my couple finally arrived on the golden sands of Kaiteriteri in dapper matching cream suits, striking red ties and with a tidy flax thistle button hole to symbolize their Scottish attachment. With their small group of family and friends we embarked on the sea limousine charter and sailed the crest of the waves under a clear blue sky to a tiny little bay called paradise aptly named by the locals on a small island nature reserve called Fisherman’s where a dream team greeted us on the beautiful pre-styled beach for their ceremony. It wasn’t my first wedding but it was my first same sex couple and with utter honor I performed the legal requirements with a personal touch and emotion to celebrate this incredible day.

Their celebration continued with song and chatter of the guests in harmony with the native bird song in complete joy with the distant chime of the golden harp and the gently kissing waves all accompanied by a stunning picnic of locally produced deliciousness and award winning local wine. We finished off the trip by taking the group on a scenic cruise into the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, famous for its seals native bush and bird song before returning to Kaiteriteri. After a rest they enjoyed an intimate reception in a local restaurant that’s view reached out to the Island keeping the atmosphere of the day going late into the night.

I am proud that every provider contracted through the Dream Maker for wedding products and service welcomes all couples without question, whatever their shape, colour or sex and I am excited to continue to bring more same sex couples together in marriage but with each couples comes a story of frustration that they have been deprived of their freedom, some for decades but all have been able to set that behind them for a much brighter future, knowing that this negativity will never have a hold on them or other couples again.

So from all corners of the world, we welcome with open arms couples to share our beautiful slice of heaven, capture forever their moment in time, the fresh smells, the blue skies and clear water, the wild life and friendly local atmosphere, our welcoming hospitality and sunshine hours are all abundant and a tonic to sooth any heart!

For further information contact: Terri Everett 0064 (0) 27 5268771
www.thedreammaker.co.nz
Please visit our You-tube page and find a short video which captures our couple’s day: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzzPlMoLUR8

 

Leave a Comment