Timaru man among history makers
It's been a week of marital bliss for Christchurch-based Timaruvian Richard Rawstorn and his new husband, Richard Andrew.
The newlyweds were among the 31 same-sex couples to legally tie the knot for the first time in New Zealand history.
"Big Richard" and "Little Richard", as they call themselves, are already civil union partners, but they say being married is a different thing altogether.
"Now I can say he's my husband whereas before we had to explain that we had a civil union, but there wasn't a proper name for our relationship. I couldn't call him ‘my husband'."
Mr Rawstorn says the wedding was just like any other.
"We just happened to have two grooms. In every other way it was exactly the same."
The couple have mostly had positive feedback from the public.
"I was looking through photos and articles online, and some people left messages saying they thought it's unnatural and saying there's going to be more earthquakes in the world because of it, but it just shows that people can be small-minded and not open to change."
Mr Rawstorn says for them, marriage is much more than a contentious issue, and people should try to see it from their perspective.
"It changes everything for us, but it doesn't affect people who disagree all that much. Life will go on for them no matter what we do."
Mr Rawson was born in Timaru and educated at South School, Watlington Intermediate and Timaru Boys' High.
"I knew (that I was gay) from when I was about 7. I knew I should like girls but I just didn't. Richard was the same, at about the same age," he said.
He wasn't given a hard time at school, but moved to Christchurch at 18 because he felt less conspicuous in a bigger centre.
"Timaru is Timaru, and being gay isn't the best thing."
Richard is a registered nurse in Christchurch, but his mum lives in Timaru and he owns a house here, so is still tied to his hometown.
The wedding was at Rotorua Museum. Lesbian couple Rachel Briscoe and Jess Ives were married in the same ceremony.
Mr Rawstorn and Mr Andrew have been together for seven years, and the couple are planning on having children soon.
Mr Rawstorn is proud that now he is treated equally in the eyes of the law. "I'd strongly recommend it to anybody."
SOUTH CANTERBURY HERALD
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