This article is based on a face-to-face interview one of our editors conducted with the couple. We wish J and A the very best as they have just completed one year together as a married couple. Happy first anniversary. May their lives be blessed with love and care for each other.
Photo source: From the couple’s wedding album
A quick search in Google on same-sex marriage and you will get overwhelmed by what’s out there. An interesting nugget of information I found is that same-sex marriages happened even during the Roman Empire. One might argue that these marriages are different from what we have (or don’t have) now, in nature and intention. But one can’t deny that throughout our history, there were instances of “gay marriages”, as few and far between as they were. My favourite anecdote is the blond slave charioteer, Hierocles*, proclaiming that he was delighted to be called Roman emperor Egalabalus’ mistress and wife. The emperor also referred to the charioteer as his husband. How quaint!
One of the major controversies that cloud the current issue of same-sex marriage is the concept of the word “marriage”. A gay couple can get a lawyer to draft out conditions that are comparable to a heterosexual marriage. But, many who are against same-sex marriage want to maintain and preserve the definition of marriage to be one between a man and a woman. And may I add that this view is not just solely from the Christian quarters. However, shouldn’t marriage be a right given to all, regardless of race, language, religion or sexual orientation? Well, this is a point of contention.
THE COUPLE – HAND IN HAND Photo source: From the couple’s wedding album
I was privileged to meet a Singaporean gay couple who was married in Bali last year. J (44) and A (29) first met at an Oogachaga event. While the relationship was not smooth sailing, A says that one “does not give up immediately after the first signs of trouble.” They also had their fair share of criticism from “friends” who seemed overly invested in their relationship. The latter brought up issues they had like J and A’s age difference and how their relationship is mixed race, as if these were hindrances to their love for each other. J said that some of his Chinese friends were uncomfortable with him dating an Indian guy and slowly drifted away from him. However, he does not regret any of his actions as he feels that A is “positive energy” to him. He also added that while a few friends might have issues with A, he is “well-liked” by all his closest friends and that is an important “pull factor” for him.
One thing I was curious about, being the romantic that I am, is the proposal. But, there wasn’t one. It was a mutual albeit romantic gesture. Both J and A were at Plaza Singapura, having dinner with friends. They ended up at a shop, as J was particularly interested in a ring. They found out that it was $88 for two and it was at that moment that they realised they wanted to be married to each other, almost telepathically. A said that it was on that night that they planned their wedding.
In planning their wedding, both of them depended on their strengths. A planned the wedding as he was good at budgeting and J was put in charge of the design aspects as he was good with details. The couple invited 80 close friends and family to celebrate their lavish wedding in Bali overlooking the mountain. A said that his boss closed the office and all his colleagues, their spouses and children attended the wedding. His straight colleagues went all out to make him feel at home and were eager to attend his wedding. He also came out to his sister and mother before the wedding. J came out to his nephew before the wedding. His nephew attended the ceremony in Bali. But not all was fine and dandy, as some of their gay friends made weak excuses not to attend the wedding. As disappointed as they were that some people in the community were not as supportive, they were not deterred by it at all. They were married on 25 May 2013.
If you have a list of certain expectations of what you think
the “ideal man”should be like, you will not find “the one”.
Everybody deserves to be loved…..
…..You need to give yourself and other people a chance. __________________________________________________
For A, it is not the legality that they were looking for; it was what it meant symbolically. After the marriage, he felt “funny, as there was this sense of responsibility” to each other. J feels that marriage is a beautiful thing but the gay community can be overly cynical about such issues. Finally, I asked the happy couple to give us single mature men some advice on finding love.
A’s advice: If you have a list of certain expectations of what you think the “ideal man” should be like, you will not find “the one”. Give people a chance. Be comfortable in your own skin and say “Yes” as you will never know what will come from it.
J’s advice: Everybody deserves to be loved; people just fear rejection. However, one must make a conscious effort to move on and meet people. Everyone has someone. You need to give yourself and other people a chance.