Australian Couple's Silent Protest for Marriage Equality

Australian Couple's Silent Protest for Marriage Equality

In a silent protest for same sex marriage equality, Australian couple, Abbey and Mitchell Johnston held their hands to their ears during the compulsory matrimony words, "marriage is between a man and woman." They were quickly joined by their bridal party, friends, and family in what was a simple but strong visual statement of their strong personal beliefs on the subject. Luckily, Thomas Stewart Weddings was on the scene to capture all of these photos!

Abbey and Mitchell knew they wanted to do something special. Knowing those words would need to be spoken as part of the ceremony, they hatched a plan.

We told Alison (the officiant) that marriage equality was something that was extremely important to us as a couple and could she tell everyone our views on this within the ceremony,' she said.

'She happily obliged. However it just didn’t sit right with me. I thought to myself "Is that all we can do?" Surely such a bigoted statement should have no part in our personal marriage ceremony.

'I read an article about how celebrants are turning their microphones down when they say the monitum and the idea hit me.

'I nervously informed Mitchell of my idea hoping he wouldn’t think it was lame.

'He initially laughed so hard he cried and then he said “Yes. Absolutely we have to do this. You are crazy and I love it!"'

Here in the states we happily enjoy this new freedom of marriage equality, however, over in Australia, it's still a topic of political debate. When asked why, Abbey said. "I fear that one day my future children will ask, 'Mum did you get married when same-sex marriage was not legal?' I wanted to show them that we didn’t just stand by."

We reached out to Thomas as well, to hear the story form his angle.

Shooting weddings full time, you get used to having all your senses tuned in to what is happening around you; this is especially true for me as I don't normally use a second shooter. So as always, while I was shooting the ceremony I was keeping an eye out around for anything unusual. As soon as I heard the celebrant ask the guests and the couple to cover their ears, I shot a few frames of the couple laughing and ceremonially covering their ears.

We also asked him what the response has been, as a business, for standing up for something he also believes in very passionately.

I've definitely seen an increase in my Facebook page likes and activity...[.] Most importantly though, it's an issue about which I feel passionate, and directly influences the industry of wedding photography in Australia, and therefore my job..[.] The only negative I can think of is the few negative comments I've seen on a few news articles, but that's ok.

For more photos, be sure to check out Thomas Stewart.

[via DailyMail]

Stephen Atohi's picture

Stephen Atohi is a film and fine art digital photographer based in Charleston, SC. His specialities are in portraits, weddings, and travel photography.

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Nice! Some really photogenic bridesmaids in this one too :)

At what point will the people stop shoving the Gay agenda down our throats?

Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no "gay agenda" and no one is trying to "shove it down your throat".
The only thing marriage equality is about is to have the exact same rights (and responsibilities) as any other married couple in society.
We're not trying to "turn the world gay" or other people. We're not interested in conversion, and we're certainly not interested in tying the knot in a religious way.

This is NOT about religion or beliefs, it's about politics and civil rights.
Without marriage equality, couples of the same sex that actually love each other (like any other couple) are not protected by law and that is why it's so important to us.

Think of this: imagine for a second that you are gay, that you have a boyfriend and you love him, you've been together for a couple of years now and you have a healthy, strong and great relationship. You decide that this is the guy you want to spend the rest of your life with. And turns out that you do. So, along the road eventually you want to buy a house together but (and here's why marriage equality is important) BOOM, you're denied a bank a loan in conjunction because you're not married.
But, hey, no big deal, you still have each other and any of you will buy the house and that's it, right? WRONG. Lets say, that, OK, you spend 20 amazing years together and when you think everything is going great and you couldn't be happier, BAM, an illness or accident strikes your partner (not husband, because you're not legally married), and he needs to be rushed to the hospital and YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED to be by his side because YOU'RE NOT LEGALLY MARRIED. You have no rights whatsoever. Then, the unthinkable happens, your long time partner dies, well, you don't have any rights as well over his inheritance. Maybe, yes, he put down his last will and he named you the beneficiary, but the family could appeal to that, and yes, leave you with nothing. Perhaps the house was on his name, because remember, you were not able to buy it together, even though you may have participate financially. So there you go, you lost your partner, your house and everything you worked for it together because you were not legally protected. Tough, don't you think?
And those are only some of the situations you may face. They're are a lot of them, hundreds of them.

Now, I'm not sure about Australian law, because I'm not Australian, I live in Mexico and we're in situations like the ones I described and I know of many cases in different countries that had been through one, all or similar scenarios.

Please, don't think our goal is to destroy families or values or world domination, because it isn't. Our goal is to become legal families, with all the rights and obligations that comes with it.

Sorry if i have misspelled something or if my grammar its a little shabby, English is not my native language.

Have a great day.

Who is "the people" and who is "our throats"?!

I am happy that we are living in a time and place where human beings are being treated more equal every passing day by the common man and woman and the law.

I am happy to hear about social acts of protest to progress more societies into the type of ideology that is inclusive and fair, not exclusive and unfair.

Thank you for this article, it is refreshing.

Fuck off. Is the only thing that comes to mind.

Just fuck off and read somthing else... really. No one is shoving cocks down your throat so stop felling like an outraged 16th century lord.

At what point will people stop shoving the Jesus agenda down our throats? When will they realize that at no time was he elected to, voted into, or appointed to run our lives? If he was so powerful, he would have done a lot more in the last two thousand years.

When was Jesus shoved down your throat? Muslims see homosexuality as sin also. It seems odd that so many homo characters are on tv and in the news when they are such a small part of the total population. In all my dealings with all people, homos have been the meanest most hate filled people I've come across. It used to be tolerance was the slogan of the gay agenda, but they are only tolerant towards people that share their views of their perversion.

Ahhh, them internets... so full of ignorance, homophobia, and such...
And your Jesus gets shoved down my pocket all the time, with that whole "in God We trust" BS, for instance. Bigot.

When have I not? You try being a person who is obviusly a Jew and who lives in the south! I have literally had people who did not know me, hit me with bibles in a grocery store and say that I was going to burn in hell if I didn't accept Jesus. I was shot at by white supremacists shouting anti Semitic slurs who used Jesus as their defense in court. Oh, and historically the Christians started the Inquisition, and the Dark Ages! They have killed millions of people for centuries who didn't follow their beliefs. So sorry to hear a few gay people were rude to you. At least they didn't light your car on fire like those good Christians did to mine when I was marching in a gay pride parade. They were members of a Baptist church that had been protesting at the parade, whom I never interacted with, that followed me to my car, waited for me to walk away from it and then torched it, all on surveillance video. Oh, and the term is gay, not homo you idiot.

Case in point. So far you kind gays have called me ignorant, homophobe and an idiot. By the way it's in God We trust, not in Jesus we trust. Also when was the last time Fstoppers ran a story on Jesus or christians except to scandalize them when gays were hellbent on ruining their livelihoods. Man, you gays are such model citizens.

Well when YOU start with hate speech, you get it in return. "Homo" is an offensive term. So you using it either means you're a bigot or that you're ignorant, or both. So if you can't handle name calling, don't start.

"When was Jesus shoved down your throat? Muslims see homosexuality as sin also."

I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to argue with that, Islam doesn't currently form a major political force in the United States and the comment is a non-sequiter. As for Jesus, I think you'd have to be willfully blind not to see the signs of Christianity all over the place.

"In all my dealings with all people, homos have been the meanest most hate filled people I've come across. It used to be tolerance was the slogan of the gay agenda, but they are only tolerant towards people that share their views of their perversion."

Let's see... You call them "homos," a derogatory term, and define them as perverts. Wow, color me shocked that they're not treating you like a favorite Uncle. I can't say I'd blame them for being intolerant if that's your idea of treating people how you want to be treated.

First off I was unaware that calling them homos was offensive. I was using the word homo not to be offensive, but to express disgust and will continue to do so. Second, they are perverts. Taken from the web.
the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.
"all great evil is the perversion of a good"
synonyms: distortion, misrepresentation, falsification, travesty, misinterpretation, misconstruction, twisting, corruption, subversion, misuse, misapplication, debasement
"a twisted perversion of the truth"
sexual behavior or desire that is considered abnormal or unacceptable.

Not being of the norm is not the same as being a corruption of what is acceptable. You can't use semantics to prove what is wholly an opinion.

Normal use of the anus is for ridding the body of waste. Normal use of the penis (also ridding the body of waste) and vagina is for reproduction. Normal use of the mouth is for intake of nourishment. Practicing gays cannot reproduce without outside help. A broken thing is corrupt as it cannot or will not perform its intended use, duty.

You talk as if heterosexual couples never perform oral sex. Also; I really hope you don't tell couples who are unable to conceive that they are broken.

I never said that heterosexual couples don't perform oral or anal sex and I believe this to be perversion also. Heterosexual couples that can't have children are broken, but not by choice, or perversion. Hopefully these couples can be helped. Homosexuals or gays, whichever you prefer, are broken by choice and cannot have children through homosexual sex. I just want to thank you David Vaughn for not flying off the deep end like some the others who posted here. I personally don't hate anyone, gay or straight, and I don't believe people should be beaten or have their cars set on fire or foul language be used against them just because they are gay. The best argument so far was posted by Eduardo Lima. I can see his point even though I don't in any way encourage or approve of the gay lifestyle.

If a person believes that a gay person is broken BECAUSE they cannot procreate, then logic dictates that any person who is unable to procreate is also broken.

Or, if you want to play the "won't is different than can't" card. What about those people who can but simply choose not to have children? They spend their whole lives without contributing to the ever-growing population. Should they also fall under severe shame and scrutiny for not having children? Or is it alright because they're heterosexual?

If you think homosexuality is gross and unnatural, that's you're prerogative, but reasoning that it's because they can't have children is a very big oversimplification of the human experience from both a philosophical and psychological view.

There's also the fact that normalcy is only a statistical tool. Being gay is not normal, however, neither is, say, attending private school or using a Hasselblad digital medium format camera.

Normalcy is not synonymous with "better."

A gay person can't procreate because they won't practice sex in the way it was designed for procreation. As far as not having children by choice, I don't agree with this either. The problem is not that they can't as in gay sex, but that they choose not to. As I stated above homosexuals can't and won't. As far as shame, that comes from the individuals conscience and people will always scrutinize others and their behavior. Normalcy is using things for what they are designed for, a screwdriver for screws, a lawnmower for cutting grass, and a penis for a vagina. The fact that homosexuals can't have children through homosexual sex, doesn't take reasoning, it's a fact. Practicing homosexuality has other problems also. Some of them are philosophical, psychological, and physical. Normal as in how your body functions is better.

Well, you get what you give and it's quite apparent that you're getting what you deserve.

I can say without a doubt that we don't get what we deserve and I truly hope you don't get what you deserve.

So you know marriage came from the Bible right? So if your a wedding photographer you can thank God for inventing marriage and giving you the ability to make a living. You obv have no clue what your talking about.

People were getting married well before the Bible and Christianity existed and billions who aren't Christian still are. It wasn't until around 1215 that the Catholic Church even got involved because marriage was normally an agreement between two families. The history here isn't all that hard to discover, but the long story short on it is that is not from the Bible.

Yes, because ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Sumerians, etc. never got married... Or modern Hindus, Buddhists, etc... Got news for you, there is history before Christianity. Good grief.

I come to this site for information, inspiration and communication regarding photography. This little advocacy article (and several others like it) has nothing to do with anything other than making a political statement about a controversial social issue. Those of us who disagree with the 'progressive' opinion that this is all wonderful find ourselves subjected to the same intolerance that we've been accused of for so long.
Bottom line....Stick to photography FStoppers, and quit pushing your social agenda.

While I don't think they have an agenda, I agree with you.

Those images were not particularly well done (an uncle with a P&S would have done better) and zero pertinent photography info was conveied.

This doesn't differ much from a bag review. Not the most tastefull article. At least the one with the "revenge donation" had "some" business side to consider.

While I don't think this article is really THAT pertinent to photography, I do have to say that I don't quite understand if you don't like the article because it's irrelevant or you don't like it because you don't like what it's communicating. It feels like the latter.

How about both?
First, it's it's not that the article isn't THAT pertinent to photography. It's that is is not AT ALL pertinent to photography (I wish we could italicize. Caps for emphasis looks like shouting.)
As I said before, it is an advocacy piece pure and simple.
Second, the issue is everywhere and I am getting tired of it. Sure, I do not think this is a good thing. On many levels. I have well thought out and valid reasons why. But this is not the place to debate the issue. It would be nice to have a place to go online for professional information and instruction without having an agenda thrown in my face.

But there are places...Like...a lot of places...This particular site showing its support for gay rights isn't really equatable to every educational photography source doing it.

Zack Arias
Creative Live
Ground Glass
Petapixel (they're more of an aggregate but they do have some original stuff)
Joey L
Cambridge in Color
Jeremy Cowart
Feature Shoot
Jasmine Star...I guess...
David Hobby
Joe McNally
Scott Kelby
David duChemin
Jared Polin...I guess...
Trey Ratcliff

From what I can tell, these places don't really dip their toes into pure politics unless it does have some sort of obvious relevance to teaching something applicable about photography. Well...Feature Shoot has some advocacy stuff, but it's not really edited as heavily as other sites so...yeah...

I mean...Fstoppers isn't a newspaper, and it's free, so they don't really have an obligation to me or those whose views strongly contradict those of their writers.

I didn't say that every site does it. I'm just disappointed that it shows up here. A site that I enjoy for the most part. And a site that is ostensibly devoted to photography and not divisive political and moral issues.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that you are in favor of this and are likely a liberal/left minded person - as many in the art community are. Fine. What would you think if three or four articles showed up here about photographers doing projects that supported the Pro-Life side of the abortion issue? Or more to the point- overtly advocated the Pro-Life stance without even a passing reference to the craft of photography?

Or how about an article that showcased a photographer shooting a wedding where the attendees raised their hands in reverence when the phrase 'marriage between a man and a woman' was uttered?

I would venture to guess you might have a problem with it.

You said, "It would be nice to have a place to go online for professional information and instruction without having an agenda thrown in my face."

That's why I gave you a list, to show that there are a lot of places where the agenda is education and not politics...At least most of the time.

I wouldn't have a problem with the article being posted here, simply because this site is under no obligation to cater to my whims. I might have an issue with what is being said, but that's irrelevant. If it has something to do with photography, then I feel it has a place even if I don't agree with it or I think it's pointless to me. Beggar's can't be choosers, and since I'm not actively trying to change the Fstoppers content by asking to write for them, I don't really feel I have much of a right to jump on them about their choice of articles (unless there is a factual error or something like that).

Then again, Fstoppers tries pretty hard to create good, original content, so I'm biased in that regard. There are some photo sites that post many articles about what some Instagram celeb is doing. They're a step away from being a tabloid. In those cases, I roll my eyes, but generally I'm too lazy to go and type up a comment saying "Who cares."

If I felt it got too much, then I...wouldn't come here anymore. It's that simple. I wouldn't act like these places owe it to me to only produce content that appeals to my interests and views.

So this couple is showing how they feel about equality, and it turns into a pissing match over religion and politics.

I would like to book a bet on this marriage not lasting. Anyone wanna book it?

These are some nice pics. It's always great to see people that support the chance for people to be treated equally.

Those pictures aren't that great, be honest... They look like the photographer didn't even know it was about to happen (and it sure looks like it was a planned thing...)

I agree they may not be the most amazing pictures in a technical way, but, let's remember that another great deal about photography it's what they transmit. The photographer may not have been aware, or perhaps he/she was, but they were able to capture the moment and to tell part of a story. At least to me.
Also, I said they were nice. I never said they were great, but what is great is to see someone supporting equality. But as I said before, it's just my point of view. :D