Professor Kerryn Phelps says she cried with joy recently when she wed her long-term partner Jackie Stricker-Phelps in New York recently.
“We all had a bit of a sob,” the respected medical commentator, who was there with the couple’s two daughters and niece, told the Women’s Weekly. “I actually became a little overwhelmed by the personal emotion of the event – it must reminded me of why we have fought so hard for this for so long.”
Phelps and her partner (pictured) went to New York’s City Hall for their ceremony, where there were loads of other same-sex couples, some dressed to the nines. Since gay marriage was introduced there earlier this year, the city is becoming a tourist hotspot for same-sex nuptials. “I wanted a fairytale, just like all my friends had,” she explains.
Kerryn and Jackie previously had a religious ceremony in a synagogue in New York 13 years ago, and returned a few weeks ago to have their marriage legally recognised.
But the couple are now back from their trip and are back to their day-today life in Australia, where their marriage is not legally recognized – something the couple is working hard to change.
“The legal recognition is a validation of your relationship that you can’t actually explain until it happens,” says Jackie. “Suddenly, everyone’s equal and that’s what it’s all about. And getting married made me feel part of that. It also made me very angry with Australia because [our marriage is] now recognised all over the world, and then you go back to your own country and you’re not.”
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich congratulates Jackie and Kerryn, but says cases like theirs highlighted the inadequacy of our local laws.
“The fact that they had to go overseas to marry, as well as the failure of the Australian Government to recognise their marriage upon their return, highlights the absurdity of the Australian Government’s ban on same-sex marriages,” he says.
“The love and commitment of many gay and lesbian couples is so strong that they will travel far from home at great expense to get married in countries that don’t discriminate against them.
“For the Australian Government to disregard the solemn marriage vows taken by same-sex partners overseas is an affront not just to these couples but to the institution of marriage itself.”