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What makes a great celebrant? One year since Australia changes law from man and woman to "two people".

It’s been a full year since the passing of Marriage Equality in Australia – and service providers have been making dreams come true all year! In this series, we will be chatting to some of the amazing service providers that don’t discriminate, and spread love all around our great country… we got to catch up with the one and only Shona Tough from Aye Do Weddings to chat about the amazing people that become celebrants, what they do and the impact a year of equality has had on the profession.

Shelly and Rach with son sm 

Hi Shona! Thanks for chatting with us – so what it that made you want to become a wedding celebrant?


I was looking for a career change after 20 years in Senior marketing roles I had enough of being stuck in an office all day.  I love public speaking and have always had an interest in theatre and drama.  I was invited to a wedding in the UK,  an outdoor festival wedding, glamping and dancing under the stars.  I loved the vibe and thought it would be great to be part of such a special occasion.  I decided to take the course in 2014 and qualified in 2015.   I felt like I could bring a young, modern and fresh approach to being a celebrant.  


So bringing such a fresh approach to the profession - what is your style as a wedding celebrant?


It depends on the couple, it’s their special day and I am there to facilitate it and make sure it is everything they wish for. I listen to each couple and understand what would be appropriate to meet their needs. I like to tell their story and bring out their personalities.  I am a fun and friendly person and that comes through in my ceremonies.  I have had plenty laughs and smiles from guests, I am never too serious, it's a special celebration so it should be fun and friendly (or funky and flamboyant as one couple asked for!)


How do you see the differences between same-sex couple and heterosexual couple's ceremonies?


The same-sex couples are very emotional because a lot of these couples have waited many years to be able to make their commitment. The older couples generally have family members that they want to involve and this makes it really special.   I have had gay men being given away by their daughters, a lesbian couple involving their daughter, one couple who had their young niece and nephew as witnesses.   These family members fought long and hard for equality so to be part of the day is an honour and quite emotional for everyone.



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Reform Promises to Deliver a New 'Modern Age' for Same-Couples

  • Published in Latest
The Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) has today welcomed the much anticipated introduction of the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth laws – General Law Reform) Bill 2008 (Cth) into the House of Representatives. The bill, which ensures same-sex couples and their children will enjoy equal rights and entitlements alongside heterosexual couples, amends around 70 federal laws which currently discriminate against lesbians and gay men, and their families.

"These reforms will deliver a new modern age of equality for lesbians and gay men, and their children, in Australia. Our relationships and our families will finally be recognised in almost every piece of legislation across the nation", said Emily Gray, GLRL Co-Convenor.

The Bill gives same-sex couples and their children new entitlements and benefits in federal laws relating to taxation, superannuation, Medicare and health entitlements, social security, veterans’ and defence benefits, migration and anti-discrimination.

"We welcome the bipartisan spirit shown for reforms in this area. Last year’s GetUp! poll showed more than 70% of Australians support same-sex de facto equality. With this legislation, parliament has finally caught up with community attitudes. We call on the Coalition to support these reforms and ensure their speedy passage through the parliament and into the law books of Australia," said Peter Johnson, GLRL Co-Convenor.

The laws adopt and go further beyond the recommendations of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Same-Sex: Same Entitlements report, which found that 58 federal laws discriminate against same-sex couples and their children.

The GLRL’s 58 ‘08 campaign – demanding equality in 58 laws by the end of 2008 – has delivered over one thousand letters and personal stories to the Commonwealth Attorney-General calling for swift and comprehensive same-sex equality reform.

Along with equal rights and benefits, aspects of the reforms will also impose new responsibilities on same-sex couples in areas such as social security.

The GLRL has been working with the Government to ensure that the transition to equality will give people adequate time to adjust their finances.
The Government has already agreed to the GLRL’s recommendation for a phasing in of social security reforms. However, the GLRL continues to call for an extensive education campaign to ensure all same-sex couples and their children are adequately prepared for the changes.

"We call on the Government to fund a comprehensive public campaign to educate lesbians and gay men about their new rights and responsibilities under the law, and ensure all Commonwealth service providers do not discriminate against same-sex couples and their children", said Emily Gray.

The GLRL will also be using a grant awarded by the City of Sydney to educate lesbians and gay men about the new reforms.
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