John and Tony tie the knot

Having both migrated from England twenty years ago, John Stott and Tony Gilmour could have married in a consulate office once Britain allowed same sex marriage.

“We knew it was an option, but felt strongly that we wanted to get married in the place we now call home,” says John.

“We’ve been together almost seven years, and bought a holiday apartment in Kiama four years ago as we’d always enjoyed visiting. Within six months we realised that we wanted to move here permanently from the inner city, and we haven’t looked back.

“People have been so welcoming – we want our wedding to be a reflection of the connection we feel with the community.”

The ceremony and drinks party for 100 at The Sebel Harbourside Kiama, was followed by a lunch for 50 at the Blue Swimmer restaurant in Gerroa.

Friends and relatives came over from England for the wedding.

Kiama’s favourite diva, Pearl Noire, sang It’s Raining Men as they walked down the aisle, after they arrived together in a Mini.

While they’re not the first same sex couple to marry in Kiama since the law was changed, they are touched by how people are reacting to the new normal.

“During the plebiscite, you could tell the community were backing us,” says Tony. “Twenty years ago people like us were struggling to get basic human rights. Now we can decide to marry the person we love.”

Now living in Pheasant Point, the pair run their finance and management consultancies from home.

“Both of us work with community housing organisations Australia-wide,” says Tony.

“That’s why rather than getting wedding presents we collected donations for The Big Issue magazine. We’re past the age we need more stuff, and others have so little.”

 

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