Richard Brewer is planning Griffith’s first gay Bollywood wedding, and he’s not going to wait for parliament or plebiscites to tell him if he’s allowed.
“Imagine an elephant marching down Banna Avenue? If you think Griffins throw extravagant weddings, wait until gay Griffins get their turn,” he said.
The 38-year-old Foxy Locks hairdresser is bouyed by an initiative called the Evermore Pledge, a legal arrangement devised by Gold Coast marriage celebrant Michelle Anderson that combines all the legal and financial aspects of marriage – allowing gay couples to ‘marry’.
“We came up with this idea in March, and it’s already bigger than Ben-Hur. Our first ‘marriage’ is planned for 1 July and we hope to do at least 100 this year,” Ms Anderson told The Area News.
Mr Brewer won’t be ready this year – getting an elephant and Bollywood dancers to Griffith requires lots of saving – but is excited he can get married without the government’s permission.
He plans on marrying his partner Justin Bennett, a 36-year-old Griffith manager.
“Marriage is a human right. I want to have the same thing my sisters had,” Mr Brewer said.
The Area News talked to Mr Brewer while he was foil highlighting the hair of 74-year-old Vanda Conlon.
“I think Richard should do whatever he wants. He’d be a pleasure to live with,” Ms Conlon said.
When asked if she’d be happy if Mr Brewer were to marry her son, her reply was “I don’t have one".
Mr Brewer also said he had no plans to have children, to which Ms Conlon replied “you're too old anyway”.
Not everyone is as open-minded as Ms Conlon, and gay couples in de facto relationships can be frustrated by conservative older family members. A bitter mother-in-law can even block her son’s gay partner from seeing him in hospital – something the Evermore Pledge would prevent.
“We hear this sort of thing happening all the time, which is why this contract covers next of kin, Wills, beneficiaries, child custody, social security, superannuation, taxation and property arrangements,” Ms Anderson said.
Ms Anderson added that doing each of these things separately can cost families up to $20,000, but she’s aiming to have it all done for only $5,900.
The Evermore Pledge wouldn’t, though, help gay couples with immigration matters. Nor would it come into play for adoption, though adoption is virtually impossible for even heterosexual couples in Australia.
While a Bollywood wedding is his latest idea, Mr Brewer says he’s a “traditionalist” and would’ve loved a church wedding with his Anglican family.
“It’s not possible in a church, and I'm not going to impose my way on them. Though the churches should get on to this, they’d make money,” he said.
Mr Brewer grew up in West Wyalong, he said his family accepted him the way he is, and so should others.
“Nobody should have an opinion on anyone else’s relationship. We have a really large gay community in Griffith and they will welcome this initiative,” he said.