This Couple Fulfilled Their Wish To Be Married Before One Of Them Passes Away

Photo credit: Bill Hedges.
This is the kind of story that highlights both how far we've come on the road towards marriage equality — and just how far we have to go. (It's also pretty heartwarming.) Two Australian women were married in New Zealand last week after people from around the globe donated money to help them celebrate their love.

Sandra Yates, 57, and Lee Bransden, 75, have known each other for three decades and have been a couple for eight years. But, same-sex marriage is still illegal in their native Australia, and they couldn't afford to travel to a country where it's allowed. Bransden has a lung disease and may not have much longer left to live; the couple already had to sell possessions to ensure they'll be able to afford funeral expenses. 

That's when Australian Marriage Equality stepped in to help the women, setting up a crowdfunding campaign to get them to New Zealand for a ceremony. Donations poured in, and within two days, the campaign had raised enough money. Before the wedding, Yates told Stuff New Zealand, "We are just so grateful that we will be legally bound together before we are finally parted." 

Like the U.S., Australia is in the middle of a debate over same-sex marriage, and conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed support for equality as merely the "fashion of the moment."

Bransden had a message for Abbott on her wedding day — one that applies to every opponent of marriage equality. As she posed for photographs with her new wife, Bransden said, grinning, "Stick that up you, Tony Abbott." 

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