Two weeks ago I was a guest at one of the hippest weddings Adelaide has ever seen.

Held in a beautiful olive grove in McLaren Vale, we sipped Kangaroo Island gin, ate vegan spring rolls and made our own organic juice drinks at the special mocktail station. (Or rather, we ignored the mocktails to drink more gin.)

A guitarist played acoustic covers of Katy Perry and Beyonce as the lovely couple drove up to the ceremony in a cavalcade of vintage MG sports cars with their two perfectly groomed terriers in tow, and we watched them stare doe-eyed at each other as the sun sank over the peninsula.

Honestly, it was so fabulous you could have overlaid the whole thing with some Nick Cave music and you’d have a new tourism ad for the Fleurieu.

And then there was the moment during the ceremony that the priest declared “I now pronounce you husband and husband”, and my friends kissed, and everybody cried.

So you see it was a very special wedding, and not just because of the organic gin and vegan canap├ęs.

Everyone wants their wedding to be special, but I’m fairly sure my newlywed friends would be delighted if changes to the law meant it could have been a bit less so. I’m sure they would have been happy to have a “normal”, every day wedding of the kind heterosexual couples have enjoyed forever — at least from a legal standpoint.

After next week that may actually be a possibility, now that opposition leader Bill Shorten has announced his intention to introduce a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. Everyone’s gotten very excited, but it’s hardly a new concept — we went through all of this in 2012 and got nowhere.

This time though there’s a bit more public momentum behind the idea thanks to Ireland, which on the weekend became the first country in the world to legalise marriage equality via a popular public vote.

For a largely Catholic country it’s an amazing result, and quickly highlighted how out of touch the church is with the community when the Vatican’s secretary of state called it “a defeat for humanity”.

Clearly the Pope’s second in command hasn’t heard about Pizza Hut’s new meat pie pizza, because if anything signals humanity’s defeat it’s that. (I mean, have you seen that thing? It looks like something off the set of Doctor Who.)

In any case, who cares what the Vatican thinks? While those crusty old white men shuffling around their marble corridors mutter about the end of days, the rest of the world is clearly changing. Ireland’s decision brings the number of countries to have legalised same-sex marriage to 19, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg and Finland.

And in America marriage equality is recognised in 37 out of 50 states, including ultra conservative Alabama. If a state that prides itself on its “Redneck Riviera” can give the green light to gay marriage, what exactly is holding Australia back?

Ironically our lagging even further behind on marriage equality may be what eventually gets it over the line and into law.

We like to feel that we are a progressive, cosmopolitan country. That we’re important. That things happen here. We consider ourselves a major player — so falling behind on basic human rights is sort of starting to get embarrassing.

For all the Australian gay and lesbian couples who desperately want to get married, here’s hoping Monday’s bill eventually passes into law. Personally I’m hoping to get an invite to my friends’ second legal wedding — those spring rolls were delicious.


First published in The Advertiser, May 28, 2015. Click here to read the original article.