This Lesbian Couple Got Married To Fulfill A Dying Wish, And Their Story Will Make You Cry All The Tears
Australia has yet to pass any laws legalizing marriage equality, but that didn't stop Lee Bransden and Sandra Yates' marriage from occurring anyway. Although the majority of public opinion approves of legalizing same-sex marriage, the couple of eight years could not afford to wait around for the legal system to swing in their favor. Bransden was recently diagnosed with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, BuzzFeed News reports, and she has only weeks to live. Before her death, Bransden was determined to marry her partner, but after losing their life savings in a property investment, the couple could barely afford to pre-pay for Bransden's funeral, let alone the travel expenses for getting married overseas.Luckily, advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality caught wind of the couple's heartbreaking situation. The organization started a GoFundMe to pay for a trip to New Zealand, the closest country with marriage equality, as well as the couple's lodging and the ceremony itself. The campaign only asked for $6,500, but within two days it received over $8,000 in donations. According to a press release, the couple ended up choosing Rotorua as their destination wedding. "We’re both of Aboriginal descent and as Lee worked in New Zealand for 25 years, she was really connected to Maori culture and it’s very special to both of us," Yates said.
Before the wedding, Yates said that while they have had a tough time financially, the wedding gave Lee "something more to live for." In addition to the crowdfunding donations, local businesses provided the couple with hair, makeup, flowers, and photography during the ceremony, which took place in the Mitai Maori Village.
The press release reported that Yates was floored by the generosity that allowed her to marry the love of her life before she passed. "It’s been absolutely generous in every way, whether that’s verbally, or contributing to our cause, to our needs, to our wishes, to our dreams," she said.
The couple met more than 30 years ago, when Yates asked Bransden for a job picking apples, but it wasn't until Yates got a divorce decades later that the best friends realized their feelings for each other.
"It’s been the most wonderful day of my life. I am married to the most wonderful woman," Bransden said after the ceremony. However, she and her wife pointedly wished that they could have gotten married in Australia. “We are supposed to be a leading-edge country. We really are not that advanced," Yates said in the press release. Bransden had similar misgivings, declaring that the ceremony "should have happened in Australia."
In fact, Yates had one thing to say to politicians. "Get off your bums, look at the community, look at people's tolerance levels, look at the whole picture," she said.
If that doesn't sum up the entire situation, I don't know what does. Congratulations to the couple, and here's hoping their story is a wake-up call for Australia.