Tamworth couple still searching for marriage equality

LOVE STORY: Tamworth couple Lucy McCowen and Sarah Mayo are hoping to change some minds on marriage equality. Photo: Peter Hardin 150317PHD017

LOVE STORY: Tamworth couple Lucy McCowen and Sarah Mayo are hoping to change some minds on marriage equality. Photo: Peter Hardin 150317PHD017

THE last three years might have flown by for Tamworth couple Sarah Mayo and Lucy McCowen. 

But as they approach another milestone in their relationship, there’s still no legal recognition of their partnership with stunted progress on marriage equality in Australia.

Sarah and Lucy had a commitment ceremony on March 27, 2014, to celebrate their relationship. Three years down the track, there’s renewed energy for marriage equality and the couple wants to take their story to the second-highest office in the land.

“We’re just everyday people; we’re just the same as everyone else,” Ms Mayo said.

We’re just everyday people; we’re just the same as everyone else. We deserve the same rights as everyone else. - Tamworth woman Sarah Mayo

“So we deserve the same rights as everyone else.

“Marriage is about our equal rights.

“It was never about the day.”

There might be a while to go before the women’s union is fully recognised, but Tamworth has already come on in leaps in bounds.

Ms Mayo said she was “quite shocked” to see 80 people turn up for the marriage equality forum in Tamworth this week.

TAMWORTH SUPPORT: About 80 locals turned out for the marriage equality forum this week. Photo: Gareth Gardner 140317GGE04

TAMWORTH SUPPORT: About 80 locals turned out for the marriage equality forum this week. Photo: Gareth Gardner 140317GGE04

“We’ve seen the community as a whole grow a lot,” she told The Leader.

“I must admit, I’ve had it pretty lucky, with a lot of support from my friends, family and colleagues.”

But she said there would be gay and lesbian people in Tamworth that might still feel afraid to come out or be themselves.

She said not having legal recognition of their partnership could be a “real battle” if Ms Mayo or her partner were facing medical or income issues.

Now the couple are feeling buoyed by the strong level of support shown in Tamworth and plan on getting their story in front of the region’s decision makers.

Ms Mayo said they wanted to write a letter to New England MP Barnaby Joyce and arrange a face-to-face meeting with the local member.

“I want to ask why he has his stance,” she said about a potential meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister.

“It isn’t much to change it. It doesn’t affect him or his family.

“It doesn’t affect any heterosexual values.

“It’s not going to affect anybody except for Lucy and I.”

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