Who knew deep south American states such as Louisiana (where it is still illegal to gargle in the streets - true story) would legalise gay marriage before Australia?
Who knew deep south American states such as Louisiana (where it is still illegal to gargle in the streets - true story) would legalise gay marriage before Australia?

Strange politics: No marriage equality and we miss $742m

THE stirring twang of a banjo-led rendition of Shania Twain's You're Still the One rings over the Louisiana bayou as Cletus and Bubba lean in for their first passionate embrace as husband and husband.

Fathers of the grooms, Floyd-William and Bubba, give each other a knowing nod as the ringlets of their sons' freshly-groomed mullets entangle in the loving squeeze.

Their boys have finally made it. It has been tough, but they got there.

Now it's time for the real fun - gator gumbo under the shining moon, washed down with gut-rotting hooch and increasingly heated debate about the plight of the Confederate flag.

Meanwhile, 14,000km away, Shano and Bazza are boarding a plane from Australia to New Zealand with all their nearest and dearest in tow.

Nothing particularly will change in their relationship - they are already in love and maintain an active bedroom life, like any healthy couple - but this is their chance to get married.

And they don't mind paying for it.

Like so many of their countrymen, they were stunned to hear marriage equality arrived in Deep South American states such as Louisiana (where it is still illegal to gargle in the streets - true story) even before Australia.

It won't stop Shano and Bazza's wedding or their relationship continuing when they get back home.

But it will mean some pretty serious pay dirt for those opportunistic Kiwi marriage celebrants who applied for their licences a few weeks before New Zealand introduced its same-sex marriage laws.

Now, I try to keep a lid on my prejudices but something deep inside me screams in agony when I think of the money we are giving these chilly bin-toting charlatans.

The last Census estimated there were 50,000 same-sex couples living in Australia and a University of Queensland study found 53% of these couples would marry if they could.

With the average wedding costing about $28,000 in 2007 - and likely much more now - failing to introduce marriage equality is costing Australia at least a $742 million payday.

And that ignores all the new jobs it will create.

In fact, I'm signing up for my Certificate IV in Celebrancy tomorrow, just in case.

Might get a few banjo lessons, too.

-APN NEWSDESK



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