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Evermore Pledge; from spark to rainbow flame

I groaned when I heard the buzzer announce a visitor at the door.  In bounced one of my life-be-in-it friends.

 

“Are you ready for Samara’s birthday drinks?”

 

“Don’t be ridiculous, Dude. That’s not until June,” I snorted.

 

“Dude.  It is June.”

I’d had my head in a laptop for four months, working on the Evermore Pledge, a wee little bedside bulb that enjoyed a power surge and overnight became a blinding fluorescent light with its own agenda and a pace to match.

 

On the 13th March, my partner at the time and I were having a debate, which was a fairly regular occurrence.  Basically, I’d say something; he’d disputed it just for his own amusement.  (Does anyone else do that? So annoying!)

 

My comment on this day way, “I’m so sick of hearing about equal marriage. Can we just pass the law and get on with it?”

 

In one of his more brilliant moments, Greg argued (sigh) and said, “What if we don’t wait and the answer lies somewhere else.  When you break down what a marriage comprises of legally and financially and match that with a cool wedding, that’s almost the same, but better. Right?”

 

Then he went back to Family Guy.

Rainbow-Fire-Packets-300x300

 

I slept on it.  Well, it wasn’t really sleep, it was more “Ah shit, I’m not going to get any shut eye because of my stupid brain.  Go to sleep brain.  Oh now I need water.  Give me the blanket back. Argh!”

 

In the morning I called some of my friends in the LGBTI community.  They all said the same thing.  “It’s not equal marriage, but it’s the closest we’ve got and solves the practical problems.  Do it!”

 

Within 48 hours, I had secured the genius law firm, Nevile & Co. Commercial Lawyers who agreed that I couldn’t make a massively complex document with the $3.85 in my account.  Peter Nevile has been an equal rights supporter for decades and believed in the idea and believed in me.  So much so that they went to work on a (very expensive) project pro bono.  Score!

 

Hours after, I had sponsors (BBX and Rise Bar), media contacts (myGC.com.au), volunteers (Thea Baker), 360 PR, gay and lesbian ambassadors (Carly & Alee), social media up and running and demands for a launch party (let’s face it, the gay and lesbians know where it’s at).

 

The Evermore Pledge offers couples of any sexual orientation, race and religion the opportunity to formalise their relationship in an independent legal contract that gives them the same rights as those assumed under the Marriage Act 1961.

 

The biggest goal was to expediate the government to amend the Marriage Act 1961, encompassing equal marriage for all.

 

I figured that, to make love legal, we don’t need the church, or the government, so when they see that we are doing it ourselves anyway, they will want to jump on that gravy train, legalise same-sex marriage and chugga chugga all the way to Billionaire station.

 

The Evermore Pledge gave our government a kick up the rear to DO something… anything to move things forward.

 

What I didn’t expect was the important role that the Evermore Pledge played with regards to educating the public about what marriage MEANS.

 

Married, single, gay, straight, immigrant or local; the people wanted answers.
“My will is null and void when I say I do? Bloody hell that was 30 years ago!”

“I can still be a next of kin even though we’re gay?”

“How do I make sure my kids are looked after when I pass away, because my new wife loves speed boats and Moet in Santorini a bit too much?”

It gives me, and the people I work with, great pleasure knowing that the Evermore Pledge helped people to make an educated vote in the poll.

 

Our marketing has been focused on marriage equality, but in essence, this is a service for every couple. Straight de facto couples, immigrants, newlyweds, and those planning a wedding have made up the bulk of our enthusiastic clientele.

 

Celebrants around the country are mentioning to their straight couples that they might like to look at the serious side of their nuptials as well as the colour of the chair ribbons. So the Evermore Pledge is being incorporated making the marriage completely individually designed with every legal and financial box ticked.

 

The Evermore Pledge project has proven that an idea can start as a spark from a two seater couch in a cramped unit and $3.85 and become a raging fire that lights up the sky and invites people, from all walks of life, to roast marshmallows next to one another.

 

And who doesn’t like to roast marshmallows?

 

 

PS. Samara’s birthday drinks were awesome.

 

Michelle Anderson

Marriage Celebrant and

Director, The Australian Marriage Service

http://newwaytowed.com.au/newmarriage/

0400 207 913 / 07 5515 0276

 

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And they lived happily Evermore…

There are two sides to every good love story… a front side and a back side.

At the front of the book is a story of how two people met, worlds collided, they fell in love, they got “married”or “civil unioned”or remain “defacto” or “engaged” or wait countless years for the laws to change, and then live happily /ever after…

What’s on the back side?

I should know, I recently fell flat on mine!book

When my long term parter, friend and condfidant of four and a half years and I broke up recently, I realised that I am the most ignorant of all.  Not to mention hypocritical.

I am founder of the Evermore Pledge; a legal, lifelong contract that gives, to every couple,  the same rights and responsibilities that are assumed by married couples under the Marriage Act 1961.

More specifically, it addresses the end of a relationship.  Let’s face it, morbid as it may seem, a couple will either part because of a break up or death.

Some couples may have read about the Evermore Pledge and thought “that’s not for me, that will never happen to us, we will be in love forever”.  But it is for them.  It is for you.  It is for me. It’s for everyone who has planned their life alongside another person.  Or simply thought about life and death at all.

You see, even though we’d planned to love each other forever, Greg and I didn’t take the Evermore Pledge, nor did we marry.  Yes, we were de facto, but contrary to popular belief, de facto couples do not have the same rights as married couples.

Whoops.

As every couple finally address the end of their relationship, the concept that seem unfathomable, problems begin to present themselves.

“As life goes on, it is no longer about the roses, chocolates and who chooses to go to dinner.

It’s about the house, car and who chooses the aged care home.”

Enter the Evermore Pledge; a realistic, educated, formal agreement that is designed to care for the ones you love.

The binding union of couples may change and expand from church to government, from marriage to civil union to same-sex marriage rights; at the end of the day, the way in which we part ways will remain the same.

It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. And let’s face it, no one wants to think about it not even you reading this right now. But it is a fact.

Taking The Evermore Pledge is like adding a page to the back of the storybook.

An additional section reads:

“And many happy years later, days of living together and loving each other, building memories together and raising families, they parted ways. 

“When one was ill, the other was financially secure enough to care for them. 

“When one passed away, the other had their beautiful home and money to retire with. 

“When they chose different paths altogether, they respected each other, the time they had together, and both started their new journey far richer in coin and love than when they had met.”

Some have said I’m not very romantic at all to be thinking in such a way.

I think quite the opposite. I like to think that when two adults love one another enough to make promises, they will keep those promises, even when circumstances change.

The Evermore Pledge is like saying – “hey lover, I said I’ll always take care if you. Sign here because I mean it!”.

So when your back side may be a little tender from the fall, you can turn to the front page and remember the good times all over again.

 

Michelle Anderson

Civil Celebrant

Director The Australian Marriage Service

Founder of the Evermore Pledge

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