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.


  • zhera

    I hope this lovely couple get their right to marry before it’s too late!

  • As an American that lived&worked for years in Australia in 1970s (followed my Au boyfriend from London), I’m still amazed that USA beat otherwise very advanced Australia in providing citizens born non-heterosexual the national freedom to marry.

    • Octavio

      There are many of us (‘Mericuhns) who still can hardly believe it. We’re heading back to the US to see if it’s really true. πŸ™‚

    • Ninja0980

      “THank” Julia Gillard for that.

    • Nexus1

      If we had to rely on our Congress to provide it like Australia does its Parliament then we wouldn’t have had it for another decade at best. Thankfully we have the Constitution that we have, the Aussies aren’t as fortunate sadly.

  • clay

    “Where Love is Illegal” is looking for stories from Australia.

    National Geographic is highlighting it with an interview of the the photographer, Robin Hammond.

  • Octavio

    Makes me feel good to see an elderly couple so committed to one another. I wish them well and hope they can legally marry soon.

    • Joe in PA

      Miss Meadows…is that you?

      OT: I’m thinking about changing my avatar (I went to the Chrysler weekend in Hershey, PA… I’m in love…

      • David Walker

        I hope you’ll be very happy together. Actually, I think you should. Another commenter is using a Studebaker.

        • Joe in PA

          I know that! And love it. Silver Hawk maybe?

          • David Walker

            I believe so.

      • Mark

        Can’t identify the year without seeing the taillights – but reminiscent of Miss Jane’s Chrysler she drove Mr Drysadale in….

        • Prixator

          Miss Jane (Nancy Culp) – a lesbian who died before she ever had the opportunity to marry someone that she truly loved (she was married for 10 years to a man, but she came out in 1989 and made it as clear as possible for that time that she was always a lesbian).

          • I loved Nancy Culp and hope that her last years were happy.

        • Gustav2

          Isn’t that an Imperial? My Chrysler working gay uncle had one.

      • Wynter Marie Starr

        Well, who could blame you? I’d be willing to cheat with that.

      • Octavio

        That Imperial is in my favorite color! My mother bought a new Imp. La Baron in 1961. Worst car she ever owned. The toys kept breaking on it (window switches, door locks, cruise control). She traded it in for an Olds 88 (with a Rocket V8) which turned out to be even worse. But I liked the Imperial. It had a driver’s seat that turned out to meet your butt when you opened the door. Something all automobiles need: swivel seats. LOL!

        • Gustav2
          • Octavio

            Yea Gods! That is so frightening! LOL! We’re headed back to the US this week. El Squeeze is excited because he’ll be greeted by his much missed Tesla S coupe. Except for the WiFi and magic ghost that gives directions, I swear mom’s old Imperial had more doodads and toys. The rear-view mirror had a floating compass built into it and was mounted on the dashboard instead of hanging from the windshield. And then there was the dynomatic push button selector buttons for the transmission. Odd stuff. Even for the late 50s.

      • D. J.

        1964-1966. My Mom had a ’65. Hemi engine, slippery in the rain.

      • Rocketeer500

        What a beauty. 1964.

  • noni

    Another American exporting hate to Australia.

    Katy Faust

    and her blog:

    • Oscarlating Wildely

      “How has it become possible that a daughter of lesbian mothers is opposed to same sex marriage?”
      Well, you see, it’s because I’m a complete raving bitch! And Jeebus.

      She’s gotta be a lot of fun at parties!

      • BudClark

        That one’s got icicles on her woo-hoo, if she’s not also a vagina dentata.

        • 2karmanot

          There you go.

    • To turn her back so firmly on her mother and her mothers wife is terrible. Rather than hate the kids who teased her for having to mums, she turned against her mom. Stupid cow.

  • Gene

    The fact that Abbot can read of this (and there is NO way he could have missed this…to much press) and NOT have his heart moved, and his soul stirred to rightful action, tells me that he has no heart, and his soul is a cold and bitter thing. He says he has faith. No, he has dogma. Nothing more than that. Hopefully, this will happen sooner than later.

    to anyone who says “whats the rush?” there are no doubt many like these two. old lesbian couples in Perth, or, for that matter, couples in their 30s or 40s. The man who died in AL whose mom was such a bitch, wasn’t he just about 40 or so? Love should not have to wait!

    • David Walker

      He took lessons from Mrs. Thatcher.

    • canoebum

      Don’t assume he has a heart. Most sociopaths lack the ability to feel empathy or pity or compassion.

    • Ninja0980

      His own sister is a lesbian and he still says vile things about LGBT people.
      THis couple won’t move him in the least.

      • Gene

        it may sound over the top, but, I think she should walk up to him, slap him once, say not one word, turn on her heal and walk away, live a long and happy life, and then wear a red dress to his funeral.
        Blood is thicker than water, and not being moved by your own sisters plight….it speaks volumes about his coldness and poor character.

    • Extreme religion seems to dull or kill compassion. Which is a good argument against religion, how it lessens love for their fellow human.

    • JT
      • Kenneth Hwang

        My word, and this man is holding a powerful position.

  • Todd20036

    Those two heathen sinners will burn in hell for making a mockery of marriage!!!! Burn in hell!!!
    But I don’t hate them. I love them.

    • SpaceManAndy


    • Mark

      Talking about Kim Davis again? πŸ™‚ Though we don’t love her at all!

    • BudClark


  • David Walker

    β€œI’m sure our relationship is just as devoted as his is.” My bet is your relationship is more devoted and your lives are better. I do hope you’ll be able to marry soon.

    • Tor

      Compare their relationship to those of our dear Ms. Davis…..

      • Or Mrs, Bondi Mrs. Maggie G
        The current Mrs. Rush

        I know there are more, but my brain is rebelling against dredging up hate on this beautiful Indian Summer day

  • Steve

    But, but, but… If they’re allowed to get married it will destroy all of the “real” marriages in Australia, cause earthquakes, droughts, flooding and hurricanes, and end life as we know it. Look at all the other countries with marriage equality that were wiped off the map.

  • Wynter Marie Starr

    How can you look at these two men and not see they are deserving of every single right that straight people have? In order to do that you’d have to be a cold, unfeeling, bigoted bastard.

    • Oscarlating Wildely

      “you’d have to be a cold, unfeeling, bigoted bastard.”

      I see you’ve met the Prime Minister then?

      • Wynter Marie Starr

        I wish I did have the opportunity to meet him. People like him never engage in conversations with other straight people who disagree with their bigotry and won’t accept or tolerate their bigotry. When they do, their argument always, always comes down to religion and that is an argument that is easily dismantled.

    • Mister Don

      Like their PM Tony Abbott

    • canoebum


  • BudClark

    In other words, you’d have to be a Roman Catholic and / or the Prime Misfit of Australia.



  • noni

    Notice all the religious crosses hanging on the bitch’s wall in the background.

    • pj

      thats so offensive. how could you not notice that when you came into this office. keep your religion to yourself. you are there to serve all the people. also we can do without her smugness.

      • Chucktech

        I recall seeing this on Friendly Atheist. Apparently we mean ol’ atheists caused a big enough stink, thanks to the publicity of a marriage license denial, that those ugly-ass crosses are now GONE.

      • Max_1

        She draws her smugness strength from that purple cross…
        … And her bitterness from that white on black cross.

        He anger strength comes from plaster of paris cross by the planter…
        … And her resentment from that golden behemoth cross.

        And let’s not discuss her crassness from that red hook weaved cross with the mirror in the middle… You are the light in you life, bitch!

        • 2karmanot

          If she trips that macrame cross might hang her.

  • Ninja0980

    Stories like this are why I’m tired of being told I need to be “respectful” of bigots and their viewpoints on marriage equality.
    This couple and other same sex couples like them have been through thick and thin unlike the anti-gay hypocrite reps in the previous story.
    They deserve the right to marriage equality, period.

  • Martin

    Awwwwwwwwwww. Look how cute he looks doing the heart/hand thingy.

  • bambinoitaliano

    The sanctity of marriage those bigots will never realize in their life time.

  • 2karmanot

    It’s hard to explain, the complex gestalt that is marriage to those of us denied this fundamentally basic and profound civil right. T and I had been together well over twenty years. We were in our late sixties when we finally were able to marry last year in CA. We both had serious health issues and wanted to marry. T died last year and I remain.

    • 2amor

      I am so very sorry for your loss, however, I hope being able to wed has helped…..

  • matt n

    that prick tony abbott should have to tell them they will not be able to get married himself. that would make him look like the awful person he is.

  • Bill

    We are a better kind of human being.

    And that’s worth all the shit we take from them.

  • billbear1961

    Abbott, you evil, hateful shit, you let these men MARRY!

    Who the HELL do you think you are to stand in the way of love that has endured for nearly HALF a CENTURY?!

  • anne marie in philly

    I hope this lovely couple gets their wish come true – with a big cake and EVERYTHING!

  • Tim Clausen

    Wonderful guys- You’d very much enjoy Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication, featuring in depth interviews with devoted couples together between 10 and 65 years.