• The Ring (Engagement), by Roy Lichtenstein. (AP Photo, Manu)Source: AP Photo, Manu
With the prospect of marriage equality just around the corner, seeing straight friends get engaged is especially painful, writes Sam Leighton-Dore.
Sam Leighton-Dore

4 Aug 2016 - 3:02 PM  UPDATED 4 Aug 2016 - 3:02 PM

As a 25-year-old in a long-term relationship, it goes without saying that I’ve at least given some consideration to getting down on one knee and proposing to my partner. It’s what people do at my age, right? They start to plan for the future – and a big part of that future is locking in some poor sucker to share in the good times and bad, in all the sickness and health. 

Now, I’m sure a long and highly pragmatic list of reasons against getting hitched in your mid-twenties exists. For instance, I recently made the transition to full-time freelancing and am now honestly too busy tap-dancing along the poverty line to arrange a 100-head sit-down dinner. Still, marriage is a thought that has crossed my mind more times than I care to admit.

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A big reason for this is Facebook. Namely, the fact that you gorgeous straight folk won’t stop rubbing it in that you can get bloody married and I can’t. At the risk of reverting to a toddler-like state and throwing a red-faced tantrum over wanting something I can't have, could you maybe hold up on the proposals? Just for like, another six months or so?


Facebook engagement announcements have become active landmines scattered randomly across the sociopolitical battlefield that is my love life right now. It’s impossible to ignore the near-daily status updates from friends, family members, work colleagues and social acquaintances. You know, that gorgeous sunset selfie, hair billowing in the coastal breeze, a freshly corked bottle of Moët nestled carefully into an ice bucket in the background – the blinding diamond engagement ring hanging conspicuously from that finger next to your left pinky.

My eyeballs literally fill with envious tears, rolling into the back of my head as they attempt to digest the cluster-f--k of emojis on either side of an all-caps pronouncement of the obvious: “I SAID YES!”

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I can only imagine the feeling somewhat resembles that of a woman struggling to conceive her first child as she watches friend-after-friend happily announce the birth of their unexpected bundles of joy. It’s the ultimate social media sucker-punch, and right now I'm feeling particularly vulnerable and defenseless - as if Malcolm Turnbull and his LNP cronies had tied me down and welcomed the entire nation to form an orderly cue and give me their best shots.

Essentially, that's what the plebiscite feels like for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as our collective futures are turned into a political pawn and placed in the hands of strangers. During this time, your voices matter. Your actions matter. Your opinions matter. While the public debates whether we should be allowed to have the same rights as you, could you maybe indulge us some outrage and take it easy on the whole unbridled joy thing?

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I know this sounds bitter. The thing is, your engagements wouldn't have bothered me in the slightest five years ago; back when the idea of marriage equality felt beyond the realm of possibility. But now it's so close – so bloody close – and for the first time in history, members of the Australian LGBTQIA+ community are looking at the realistic possibility of getting legally married in their home country as early as next year. NEXT YEAR.

With that in mind, I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't hurt a little each time someone I love embraces that which is being so unnecessarily denied to me and my community; that which so many of us desperately want.

So yeah, by all means keep loving each other, but if there's no real hurry, it would be pretty amazing if you could abstain from partaking in what is currently a hurtfully exclusive social construct.

At least until this particularly messy chapter of our battle for equality is over.