AUSTRALIA: Elderly Sydney Couple Together 48 Years Says “Let Us Get Married Before We Die”

Via ABC News:

A Sydney-based gay couple aged in their late eighties, who have been in a relationship for 48 years, say they want the right to marry before they die. After a lifetime of relative privilege and opportunity, it is the one thing that eludes John Challis, and at 87, it really bothers him. “I’m not going to live forever,” he said. His partner, Arthur Cheeseman, who is 83 and has trouble seeing and hearing, was not well enough to take part in an interview. “He is getting frail”, Mr Challis said. “We met at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; it was the final night of the great Sydney Northern retrospective in 1967. We just happened to walk out the door of the gallery together and smile at each other, and went off and had a cup of coffee and then there you are.” Mr Challis believes the law reform cannot pass until Prime Minister Tony Abbott first abandons his faith-based opposition to marriage equality for same-sex couples. “I’m sure our relationship is just as devoted as his is and why [should] we be looked at in any different way?”

Challis is a former Catholic priest and earlier this year he “stole the show” at a marriage rally when he told his story.

Tormented in his 30s by the suspicion that he was attracted to other men – and indoctrinated with the church’s belief that this was a “grave, unnatural, evil perversion” – he decided to visit a brothel to have sex with a woman. “Of course, it didn’t work!” he told the good-natured crowd, to whoops, cheers and laughter. “As soon as she started to take her clothes off, I felt sick and fled. She earned her money easily that night.” His point being of course that his sexuality was not a choice he’d made but a core part of who he was. His partner of nearly 50 years, Arthur Cheeseman, was too frail to attend, he added, but happily endorsed everything he had to say.

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