You're invited to a huge, queer WEDDING

Jarrod Hughes and David Lawson, Annie Magee and Kris Darmody will exchange commitment vows with hundreds of other gay couples on Sunday.

Hundreds of couples will gather in the city's Alexandra Gardens on Sunday to attempt to create the world's biggest gay and lesbian commitment ceremony.

Midsumma Festival president Kris Darmody said that as well as expressing love, Summa Vows would be a protest to demand that gays and lesbians be given the same legal rights that heterosexual couples enjoy.

Jarrod Hughes, of South Yarra, who will take part in Summa Vows with his partner of six years, David Lawson, said most heterosexuals did not realise how much legal discrimination existed under federal law. He said, for example, that if a gay partner died, the surviving partner had to pay tax on superannuation benefits - a tax not paid by heterosexual partners.

Mr Hughes, 31, said that Prime Minister John Howard's comments last year opposing equal legal status for gay couples because it did not promote "continuation of our species"was a poor justification. Mr Howard's contention that heterosexual marriage was the best environment in which to raise children "ignores how many loving gay families there are these days", he said. Ms Darmody said organisers hoped that 1500 people would turn up to set a benchmark for a new Guinness World Records category for same-sex commitment ceremonies.

Participants must register at the gardens, opposite the Victorian Arts Centre, from 11am on Sunday ($10 a couple). The ceremony starts at 4.30pm.

A male and female celebrant will lead the congregation in the commitment vows: "I love you with all my heart, I promise to be there in good times and bad. You are my best friend, I am honoured and committed as your partner."

Ms Darmody's partner, Annie Magee, 34, said commitment ceremonies were becoming popular in the queer community "but it means nothing legally, and everyone knows that, and it does break my heart".

Ms Magee, a fashion designer, is making her and Ms Darmody's wedding dresses. "I'll be in pink, and lots of tulle,"says Ms Magee, who plans a more demure, "early Dior"dress for Ms Darmody, with "a lot of pink and black".

You're invited to a huge, queer 'wedding'
By Carolyn Webb
February 12, 2004

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You're invited to a huge, queer WEDDING 

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