Like many committed partners, they want to get married. They’ve already written their vows.
But unlike most couples, Des and Rex will have to keep waiting. Same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Australia and that’s not likely to change anytime soon, as the government reached a deadlock this week over how to move forward.
They can’t wait much longer though — Des is dying.
In 2012 he was diagnosed with a cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, and has been living day-to-day since then.
“My reason for living is Rex. I’ve got a wonderful GP, two cardiologists … and they are keeping me alive but I live for Rex. And I’m very proud of that,” he told CNN. They didn’t want to give their full names.
Des and Rex aren’t likely to get a chance to give their vows because on 11 October, the opposition Australian Labor Party rejected a proposed national referendum on same-sex marriage, meaning gay unions may not be legal in the country for at least three years.
Though it backs same-sex marriage, the Labor Party says a public vote is unnecessary, too costly and traumatizing for young LGBT Australians. Instead, they want same-sex marriage legalized directly by Parliament immediately.
But the conservative Australian government refuses to budge from their preferred method of the plebiscite.
The political quagmire leaves Australia’s gay and lesbian community and supporters of same-sex marriage in limbo.
Here are some of their stories.