Will this old gay couple from Australia be able to marry in their lifetime?

As Australian government remains divided over the issue of same-sex marriage, an octogenarian gay couple has been tirelessly campaigning for the cause, demanding that they be allowed to marry and that there partnership be “given the same recognition as everyone else's relationships”.

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2015, 15:18 PM IST
Will this old gay couple from Australia be able to marry in their lifetime?
Courtesy: Mashable.com/John Challis

Canberra: As Australian government remains divided over the issue of same-sex marriage, an octogenarian gay couple has been tirelessly campaigning for the cause, demanding that they be allowed to marry and that there partnership be “given the same recognition as everyone else's relationships”.

It has been almost five decades that John Challis, 87, and Arthur Cheeseman, 83, first met and fell in love in 1967, however they have not been able to wed due to marriage laws in Australia, reports the Mashable Australia.

The old couple's only wish now is to be able to marry in their lifetime and it remains to be seen if Australia will change marriage laws to facilitate that. 

Talking to the Mashable Australia, John Challis narrated how the couple's love story spawned at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and blossomed into a strong relationship as the years went by.

He added that they were accepted by people everywhere however, things began to change after he retired and Challis realised that his partner Cheeseman wasn't eligible to receive his Commonwealth pension if he passed away because Australian law did not recognise their relationship as a civil union.

Coalition MP Warren Entsch used this couple's example when he presented a same-sex marriage bill to the Parliament on Monday.

"The main purpose of this bill is not a complex one," Entsch told Parliament as quoted by the Mashable Australia. "It is to give same-sex couples in Australia the same right to marry the person they love as that which is currently only granted by law to heterosexual couples.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week made it clear that his government would remain opposed to gay marriage during the current Parliament.

He however, agreed to put the issue to a popular vote after the next election.

Despite growing chorus in support of the same-sex marriage, Australia has not yet legalised marriage equality.