15 April 2016, Comedy Festival Club, Melbourne, Australia
This was a mock wedding between two people with same sex partners, who are both prominent comedians, to protest against the prohibition against same-sex marriage in Australia. It occurred during the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. First published on Hannah Gadsby's facebook page.
We are gathered here today to witness the union of Rhys Nicholson and Zoe Coombs Marr.
The concept behind this wedding between Rhys and Zoe will be familiar to anybody who is familiar with the closet.
Why be happy when you can be normal?
If you are wondering whether or not this a real marriage then you have missed the point because what you are witnessing this evening is not a protest. It is a celebration. Although...there will be no reception. Thank you Telstra.
At this point I would like to ask our celebrant to come forward. He is wearing noise cancelling headphones and a blindfold, as he is not legally allowed to take part in a mockery of the institution he represents.
Before we do get to the official ceremony I will just take a moment to mock a bit.
As we all know Marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. Although we are ALL excluded from this union between Rhys and Zoe I would like to make a special mention to Keiren and Kate. As the long term partners of Zoe and Rhys I am sure this exclusion is all the more special for them.
But when one is queer, one is familiar with exclusion.
Zoe and Rhys first met when they were flaunting their lifestyles at the Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras. Because, before they met, Zoe and Rhys were gay. And they will continue to be gay whether or not they, or anybody else, acknowledges that. Because that is kind of how it works. It is not a choice.
But don’t think that just because being gay is not a choice that gay people don’t like choice. Blind people like to be seen. People born without legs still like to move through space. Neutered dogs still like to hump beanbags.
We gayers know that we technically have access to the same rights as de factos; heterosexual couples that choose not to marry. But it is the choose bit I would like you to consider. Giving someone an air conditioner unit is not the same as leaving someone out in the cold.
Exclusion is not a simple act. When you say to a person: “No. You can not join in. You do not belong in this community” The end of that sentence is not the end of the story. The ramifications are traumatic to the individual. To actively isolate a fellow human being is nothing short of structural violence.
You are here this evening because you are the friends, the family and the community of Rhys and Zoe and it is incredibly important to them that you are here.
It is also incredibly important that you paid for your ticket to this event. Because they really do want to uphold the sanctity of marriage this evening, and the institution of marriage is fundamentally, if you strip away all the namby pamby love shit, is and always has been a glorified financial transaction.
The most common argument put forward against same sex marriage is “Think of the children”.
And of course people will listen to the church on this. Many people believe they are the guardians of marriage. They are not. And they never should have been the guardians of children either.
I want you to know that I do not want the legalisation of gay marriage for myself. It is too late for me. Thanks to my old friend exclusion, I’m dead inside. Rhys and Zoe are on the cusp but there is still hope for these beautiful and talented bright sparks. EVEN so, this is not even really for them.
Rhys and Zoe are doing this because they ARE thinking of the children. And not just all those vulnerable baby queers. Although, at this point I would like to say that all profits from this evening go to the charity Minus18 - who support the health and well-being of the youth of my ilk.
BUT, Rhys and Zoe are doing this is for ALL of the children. Because at the moment, what we are doing in this country is saying to ALL of the children that it is OK to exclude a minority. It is OK to be a BULLY.
Through their union, filled with love and disrespect, from both within and without, what Rhys and Zoe would like to say to all children is that being inclusive is JUST as important as being included.
Now I know that by ensuring this room is filled with friends and family we are only really preaching to the choir.
But who said the choir isn’t supposed to have a fucking brilliant time????
There is a short video of the 'wedding' on Fairfax media sites.