Even though same sex marriage is not legal in Australia yet, the country's public broadcaster, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is all set to broadcast its first foray into the arranged marriage business, in what is billed as Australian television's first mass gay wedding.
The show entitled "Adam Hills' big fat gay wedding" is presented by famous Australian chat show host, Adam Hills.
"Our thought was we can't give you what you really want - a legal marriage - and a civil ceremony isn't ideal, so let's just do something ridiculous. Lets give you a TV wedding," said Hills from his make-up chair just before the nuptials began. "And we haven't had a big TV wedding for a while."
The evening kicks off with the usual round of amiable chat between Hills and his guests - Vue du Monde chef Shannon Bennett, all-round nice guy Hamish Blake, and actress Noni Hazlehurst - before the entire audience relocates to a second studio, decked out as a wedding chapel. There was billowing white fabric and flowers everywhere; at the back of the room there was even a stage for the evening's wedding singer, Adam Ant, to perform on.
The idea for the event was in fact conceived out of wedlock, a couple of weeks before the first show of the season went to air. Prospective audience members are asked to complete a questionnaire, and when they started pouring in for the first show a pattern began to emerge. Asked "what would you change if you were Prime Minister for a day?" an overwhelming majority answered they'd legalise same-sex marriage.
"And when I read one saying, 'I'd change the same sex laws so I could marry my girlfriend', I thought, 'I think I know what I have to do now'," Hills said.
The show's producers contacted out and proud Australian Rebecca Edwards to ask how she would feel about being "married" - albeit without any legal status - on TV. She said was up for it. But even Hills was surprised by how up for it she was.
"I didn't expect her to pull out a ring and get down on one knee," he said. "That's when I realised this wasn't just a fun thing, there's some meaning behind it."
So much meaning for so many Australians, in fact, that the day after her proposal went to air 200 other couples contacted the ABC to say they wanted to be involved. In the end, logistics limited the wedding party to 41 couples.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald