Country music star Beccy Cole has invited Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to her same-sex wedding.
Cole plans to marry her partner, cabaret singer Libby O’Donovan, if the law is changed to allow same-sex unions.
“It’s one thing to turn up at Mardi Gras as Prime Minister, but let’s get it right, let’s turn up to my wedding — you’re invited,” she said in a comment directed at Mr Turnbull, who attended this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney.
The winner of nine Golden Guitar awards, Cole said she never intended to be a political flag-waver, but is now keen to add her voice to the campaign for same-sex marriage
“When it’s something that you really believe in and something that affects you directly and you can see it affecting people within your community, then I think there is a time to stand up and say, ‘Come on, let’s get this right’,” she told Australian Story.
“The law as it stands I think is silly and it’s not fair. It’s not equal, and that’s all we want, to be recognised as equals.”
The couple would like to have the marriage ceremony performed by O’Donovan’s parents, both of whom are ministers in the Anglican Church.
Beccy Cole and Libby O’Donovan
PHOTO: Country music fans continue to embrace Cole and her relationship with Libby. (Supplied: Beccy Cole)
O’Donovan’s father, Reverend Bart O’Donovan, is in favour of changing the law to allow same-sex marriage.
But even if the law is changed, he would be unable to perform same-sex weddings until the Anglican Church changes its policy.
“Once the law allows the marriage of gay people, eventually the church will catch up,” he said.
“If we were in America, Canada and other parts of the world, the Anglican Church has already done that.”
‘Big gay Brady Bunch’ family
Cole and O’Donovan met at a gay pride event in Adelaide, just weeks after Cole revealed she was a lesbian on Australian Story in 2012.
Cole had been married to musician Mick Albeck but the marriage lasted only 18 months. They have a son, Ricky, who is now 17.
O’Donovan has a daughter from a previous gay relationship.
Within a year of meeting, they had set up a blended home together, likening themselves to a “big, gay Brady Bunch”.
“When people asked what the family situation was, I’d just say ‘we’re living with mum’s girlfriend and sometimes her little girl comes over’,” Ricky said.
“Once mum met Libby, she was much happier.”
Conservative country fans embrace Cole’s sexuality
Prior to falling in love with O’Donovan, Cole had been a supporter of gay marriage but had no intention of getting married again.
Libby O’Donovan and Beccy Cole
PHOTO: Libby O’Donovan and Beccy Cole say they should not be forced to leave the country in order to marry. (Supplied: Beccy Cole)
Her feelings changed as the relationship grew and she decided to pop the question at O’Donovan’s 40th birthday party in January.
“I married a bloke and that was legal, now I just want to do it right, but I want to be allowed to,” Cole said.
O’Donovan said as a law-abiding citizen who pays taxes and contributes to the community, she would like her country to recognise her marriage.
“I don’t want to get married in another country and then come here and not have the marriage recognised,” she said.
When Cole came out in 2012, her biggest fear was that conservative elements of the country music audience would reject her because of her sexuality.
At the Gympie Muster that year — her first gig after the revelation — she was apprehensive about how the crowd would react, but instead she was met with a standing ovation.
In a sign of how much the country music community has accepted her sexuality, this year Cole was named as the ambassador for the Gympie Muster.
“She was full of trepidation about coming out, but the audience here and the country music community couldn’t be more accepting of her,” Muster organiser Jeff Chandler said.
“Her sexuality doesn’t matter, it’s not relevant.”
Cole said the reaction from her fans should be an example for politicians currently debating the same-sex marriage issue.
“I’ve been accepted by supposedly conservative regional Australian country music fans. If they can accept me, then the politicians can accept me,” she said.