Jarrod Dellapina and Josh Talbot have been together for more than five years.
It’s a same-sex relationship that began in high school – and one that, until now, was a union that couldn’t be recognised as a marriage under Australian law.
Now, after same-sex marriage legislation passed the federal Parliament this week, both men have a reason to smile.
They are engaged – and, come early next year, they will be able to marry.
With the bill signed into law by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on Friday, the first same-sex marriages can be held from January 9.
Mr Dellapina told the Mercury he and Mr Talbot wouldn’t be among the first couples across the country to tie the knot, but were “really excited” their dreams could finally become a reality.
“It won’t be that soon,” he said of the January 9 milestone.
“I cannot afford a wedding at the moment, but hopefully [it will be] late next year or early the year after. We’re not rushing it.”
The pair went to school together and have been friends since year 8. In the final year of high school they “came out”, got together and have stayed that way ever since.
On November 16, the day after the same-sex marriage survey results were revealed, the Albion Park couple went away for their anniversary.
It was on that getaway Mr Dellapina proposed to Mr Talbot. He said ‘yes’.
The joyous occasion, however, was preceded by angst.
The couple, both 23, had to weather the storm of the postal survey – a time during which both men said they endured feelings of insecurity and a lack of self worth.
Some of that angst was aired on the floor of Parliament this week. Cunningham MP Sharon Bird used her allocated time during the same-sex marriage debate on Tuesday to give a voice to the words of people “who campaigned for love, kindness and fairness” in her electorate.
The thoughts of Mr Dellapina and Mr Talbot were among those spoken on the floor of the Parliament.
“The postal survey made us experience feelings of insecurity, and a lack of self worth,” the couple’s words, spoken by Ms Bird, said.
The pair said they “campaigned hard” to “make the LGBTIQ people of Albion Park feel welcomed and well represented”.
“We have to say a lot of the feedback was positive. However, the low self worth and insecurity continued to stay, with people pulling down posters, and people screaming obscenities at us, before slamming the door shut.”
A ‘wave of emotion’ in house
Cunningham MP Sharon Bird has told of the “physical wave of emotion” that followed the vote to legalise same-sex marriage in the federal Parliament’s House of Representatives.
Just before 6pm on Thursday, after almost every lower house member voted in support of the changing the Marriage Act, the Parliament erupted in applause.
“It had been a very long day and so many of those people had been in the galleries through the whole process,” Ms Bird said of the more than 600 visitors on hand to witness the historic moment.
“It was extraordinary, just like this physical wave of emotion just went through the place. I’ve never seen so much joy on the faces of people in the galleries.”
Ms Bird said the moment took her back to the apology to the Stolen Generations.
“I think while I’ve been in Parliament, they’ve been the two most amazing experiences in the chamber. So, yeah, when they broke into song, I must say I did shed a few tears because it was pretty overwhelming,” she said.