First same-sex married couple immortalised
LUKE and Craig Burns were one of the first same-sex couples to marry in Australia on the first official day of marriage equality in the country. Now, the suits they wore during that special moment will become part of history as they donate them to the Queensland Museum. The couple share their story.
Craig Burns, 30, Wavell Heights, retired athlete/graphic designer
Luke and I first met on the dating app, Grindr, at the very end of 2014. I was competing in athletics for Australia and Luke was busy with work so our messages were very sporadic.
It wasn't until about a month or so later, in early January, 2015, we met up in person. I went around to Luke's house and we just chatted to each other all night about everything.
We arranged to go on a proper date the next week and went rock climbing and then onto dinner at Garden City. I fell in love with him that night. It was a milestone year, Luke and I got together and in athletics, I didn't lose a race all year. I became the Australian 400m champion in 2015 but I think my biggest achievement was meeting Luke. I was so enamoured by him, I was drawn in by his vulnerability straight away and how unguarded he was with me.
About two years later, I proposed to Luke on the rocks of a secluded beach in Byron Bay. We had faith that Australia wasn't far away from changing the same sex marriage laws so we wanted to wait to get married in Australia.
So in December, when the legislation passed, we had 30 days to plan a wedding. We did everything in reverse, we had our reception at 8pm and our ceremony started at 11.30pm. At 12.01 on January 9, 2018, we were the first Queensland couple to get married on the first official day of marriage equality in Australia. We weren't just declaring our love for each other but what it meant for the rest of Australia who voted 'yes'. It was a huge moment for us and for the country.
We've donated the suits we wore during our ceremony and a few other things from the garden party to the Queensland Museum to be kept and used to showcase the historical moment. It's part of social history collections so future generations will be able to know and understand what previous generations went through.
Luke Burns, 25, Wavell Heights, student/athletics coach
When Craig and I finally met in person for the first time after chatting on Grindr, I knew straight away he was someone pretty special. When we met, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I was pretty lost and Craig was this super driven, motivated professional athlete who knew exactly what he was doing with his life.
I idolised him and I felt like I was a better person just by being around him. He made me want to become a runner and helped shape me into a professional athlete. We eventually were on the same running squad and essentially rivals but that never got in the way of our relationship.
Last year, Craig retired from running after being a professional athlete for 12 years. It was a huge decision for him and he didn't know who he was without running but even though he was going through lots of life changes, he knew I was always going to be a constant in his life. Craig is my pillar of strength and it was nice to be his.
When we got engaged, it was never our intention to be one of the first same-sex marriages in Australia but when the opportunity came up, we jumped at the chance. It was an incredible moment and the happiest day of our lives.
During the whole plebiscite process, I didn't want to get my hopes up that the gay marriage laws would change so I tried to remain emotionally detached so I didn't have the pain if it didn't happen. But when the results came out, I realised what it meant for Australia and for us as a couple and balled my eyes out. When the Queensland Museum contacted Craig to donate our suits from our ceremony, I realised we were part of history. It's a big deal for our suits to be in a museum and knowing they will be kept for decades for our story to be told to the future generations.