Since the U.S. legalised same-sex marriage, the news has swept across the world. This prompted Australian photographer Thomas Stewart to share images of a wedding he snapped in Feb where the bride, groom and all 17 guests at the wedding covered their ears to protest Australia's "man-and-wife" law.
In Australia, a celebrant must state, to some effect, "Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life." But the bride and groom, Abbey and Mitch Johnston, decided to stage a powerful protest against the line to highlight marriage inequality.
Planned with the celebrant beforehand, the symbolic gesture both fulfilled the celebrant's duties in making the marriage legally binding under Australian law, as well as the Johnston's desire to make a compelling, meaningful statement in support of marriage equality. All those present were still able to hear the celebrant's words.
The Johnston's purpose was to send a message to the Australian government that they — along with many others — refused to accept the subtle discrimination against same-sex couples.
"I fear that one day my future children will ask, "Mum did you get married when same-sex marriage was not legal?” Abbey told A Plus. "I wanted to show them that we didn’t just stand by. That we were proud of what we believed in, a very small act of defiance."
"We did not do this for publicity," she said. "We did this because we are tired, tired for the LGBT community and the segregation and inequality that this country is okay with. ... We did this because we believe in equality. We believe in love. It is as simple as that."