David & Gary

David Carroll and Gary Fagan

A couple of years ago Gary and I decided that we wanted to mark our relationship in some way, and began to talk about how we would like to go about it. We had been together for 15 years at this point, and it felt like it was more than the right time to do 'something'.

Around the same time, I was lucky enough to visit Canada through my work. The most pleasant surprise for me during the trip was seeing just how integrated and equal LGBT people are in Canadian society. The most obvious example, and most marked contrast between here and there, was around the area of marriage.

A year later I returned to Canada, this time with Gary in tow. We had a great holiday, and like myself the year before, Gary was also struck by the Canadian willingness to embrace diversity.

It was on this trip that we began to realise that some of the other options we had considered in relation to marking our relationship such as holding a 'commitment ceremony,' or having a big party and inviting all of our family and friends, simply weren't enough for us.

We wanted to get married, and to do it in an environment where it would be viewed as equal and no different to that of any other couple who chose to do the same.

In September 2009, after a year of planning, we finally got married at the City Hall in downtown Toronto. We were thrilled that lots of our friends and family travelled to join us for the ceremony and party afterwards.

During the toast at the party, which was given by my eldest brother, he jokingly 'thanked' the Irish government for making 'more than 50 people take a holiday in Canada, in order to be able to attend David and Gary's wedding'. Although it was said in sarcasm, he made a very valid point. The fact that we can't get married in Ireland, nor have our Canadian marriage recognised and have all of the legal rights and privilleges of marriage in Ireland is wrong.

We realise that we are lucky in that we could afford to get married as far away as Canada, and that this is not an option open to everyone.

The flipside of this is a sense of disillusionment and anger that we both sometimes feel, because we had no real choice in choosing our location, and that unjustly, our marriage continues to constitute nothing here in Ireland.