A week ago I visited the Births, Death and Marriages Registry of Queensland.
Located on George Street in Brisbane the main entry is through a court yard which runs off a laneway chasing the side of the building and not immediately visible from the street. It’s a fairly nondescript building – just bricks and windows. Nothing special to look at. Nothing on its outside suggests the importance of its inside as home to the history of thousands and resting place to a multitude of memories of love, loss and life.
But, I wasn’t there to search through history. Rather, I was there to watch it being made. To celebrate with two dear friends, John and Kris, as they publicly proclaimed their love and lifelong commitment to each other before their families and friends. A few beautiful words before a Registrar, recently empowered by the State of Queensland to officiate their ceremony, transformed Kris and John’s five and a half year relationship into a civil union.
Practically, the ceremony gave them a certificate formally recognising their relationship, that will now be stored within the plain walls of the Births, Death and Marriages Registry of Queensland, just as the thousands of Queenslanders before them. Excitingly, that “piece of paper” will be available to future generations of genealogists, just like me.
Legally however, as civil partners, they should no longer have to provide any further proof their relationship exists for things like superannuation, tax and government allowances should they be needed. Equally, like the rest of their fellow Queenslanders’ relationships.
Romantically though, in Kris’ words, it means that he can “look forward to grumpy old man grumbles and grumpy old man chuckles with John”; with the man who “knows [him] completely” and who he loves “endlessly.”