I’m a full-time, out and proud gay Civil Celebrant, occasional kayak fisherman, vegie gardener, foodie and keyboard player. I’m thrilled to be engayged to my feyoncé Clint, and most Sunday afternoons will find us at DTs, one of Melbourne’s iconic gay pubs.
Not only am I the proud father of four terrific sons and 7 fabulous grandchildren but Clint and I are also “parents” to our beloved kelpie, Bingo, aged three.
I’m the first celebrant in Australia to complete the Certificate in Gay and Lesbian Weddings (US GWI).
It’s fabulous that finally Australia has made marriage equality a reality. At the same time, it was entirely predictable that lots of wedding suppliers would jump on the bandwagon and tell us how much they support marriage equality. Suddenly rainbows have appeared on websites that have never seen a rainbow. Ever!
But when wedding suppliers say, “I support marriage equality” what, exactly, do they mean? Do they mean they support marriage equality in a conceptual way – ie “I think it’s a nice idea” – and leave it at that?
Or do they take the next step and demonstrate their support in a variety of ways that matter to LGBTI people?
People from our queer community look to engage suppliers who put into their community as well as take out from it. I shudder at the number of times I have heard wedding suppliers tell me how they “can’t wait to get hold of some of those pink dollars”!
It’s not difficult to move from merely saying you support marriage equality to being an ally of – and an active advocate for – marriage equality and for other rights that we in the LGBTI community are currently denied.
So, as a gay person who is in the process of getting married, I’ve started to ask wedding suppliers: “When you say you support marriage equality, what do you do, to demonstrate that support?”
For example, do you
- Attend rallies and get-togethers to help fight for LGBTI rights
- Volunteer with an LGBTI organisation – VAC, Switchboard, Twenty10, Headspace, the National LGBTI Health Alliance, Out and About Community Visitors Scheme, Bisexual Alliance, Transgender Victoria
- Contribute a regular financial amount to an LGBTI charity or organisation, from each of your same sex wedding ceremonies
- Show that you’re an ally or advocate with an LGBTI organization, by being on their Board, for example
- Take out sponsorship with an LGBTI organisation
- Help and support LGBTI youth through your local Council?
Just for the record, I:
- Have attended every marriage equality rally held in the CBD of Melbourne since the postal survey was announced
- am a financial member of JOY 94.9, Australia’s only LGBTI radio station.
- also volunteer as a newsreader each week, writing and presenting the news at noon on Fridays on JOY 94.9
- Donate $20 from each same sex wedding ceremony I perform to a volunteer group of which I’m a member that helps feed and clothe homeless people (including LGBTI people) in Melbourne’s CBD each Thursday night
- Have a wide social network and friendship group that includes lots of members of the LGBTI community
- Am a member of GLOBE, Victoria’s LGBTI peak body for LGBTI business owners.
As a former senior executive in state and local government for the last two decades (most recently as Assistant Director Data Analytics with the Victorian Ombudsman), I’ve written way too many briefs and speeches for premiers, ministers and heads of departments. But doing so has helped me pick up a few skills and has given me a deep understanding of how major events and important ceremonies are structured and presented. It’s been a natural step for me to put that knowledge and those skills into practice as a celebrant.
I’m driven by drafting and delivering high quality, personalised, bespoke ceremonies. As a former English and Drama teacher, I know how to work with people to put together ceremonies that are authentic, interesting, polished, enjoyable and memorable. And I know how to deliver them appropriately, tailored to the audience.
I don’t do boring or beige (unless I’m asked to)!
I’m friendly and engaging, and I’m genuinely interested in people. I want to find out and tell your story, as it’s often that which makes your ceremony different from others. It also helps that I’m an organised professional, when it comes to putting things in order and taking care of the legal paperwork.
In 2017, I was thrilled to have been nominated for the ABIA Celebrant of the Year Award. I became a Finalist, and my couples voted me an average of 99.89 out of 100 points.
Melbourne Marriage Celebrant
BA (Honours), Diploma of Education, Diploma of Project Management, Certificate IV in Celebrancy, Certificate in Gay and Lesbian Weddings (US GWI)