Marriage celebrant Bronte Price, 65, and IT expert Clint Lea, 40, first met nine years ago. On December 9, 2017, the day that Australia voted for marriage equality, Bronte proposed to Clint, and the couple married on their anniversary in April this year.
We started chatting online – Clint still has our first conversation on his phone. He was in Bendigo, I was in Adelaide, so we began a long-distance relationship.
I moved to Tasmania in about 2012 for work and the long-distance relationship just continued in a different place.
People would say, ‘How the hell can you spend five hours on the phone to each other?’, but it just flies, it’s crazy. I think one of the things about long-distance relationships is you really get to know each other; you talk about stuff you wouldn’t normally talk about if you lived under the same roof.
Five years ago, I moved to Melbourne. Clint was absolutely the reason why.
We moved in together pretty much straight away. It was interesting, introducing each other to our families. Clint’s family has just been amazing to me. There’s an obvious age gap and there’s never been any comment about that. Ever.
One of my best friends suggested I become a celebrant and it was one of those moments when you wish you had been the one that had thought of that five years prior. That afternoon, I enrolled in a course to become a celebrant. That was several years before marriage equality – I set up two businesses one straight and one LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning).
Since the vote, I will have done 100 LGBTIQ weddings.
The day of the vote, Clint was at work and I was at the state library. It was just euphoric. People who didn’t know each other were hugging and dancing. People were popping champagne and swigging from the bottle.
Later that night I thought, ‘You know what, we have to mark this day. I have to propose to him’.
We eventually set a date that was nearly 18 months away. We didn’t want to rush. Like so many gay men my age, I’d been married previously, twice, to women. We wanted to have a ceremony that reflected both of us.
It was a spur of the moment thing to jump online, I wasn’t out then, I was trying to find out who I was – I just knew I wasn’t happy with who I was at the time.
I saw Bronte’s profile pop up and thought he sounded like a really nice guy. I thought he was out of my league, he’s older, he’s not going to want a boy from the bush. But I got in touch.
Three weeks after that, he asked me to come to Adelaide for the weekend, so I flew there on the Friday and I still remember walking into the reception at Adelaide City Council wondering, Does he even exist?
But, instantly, our eyes locked and I immediately knew it was him and I’d made the right choice.
Moving in together, setting up house, it was a huge adjustment period for both of us. Finding your rhythm with each other.
Bronte’s left-handed and I’m righted-handed so it’s even the little things, like doing the dishes, we do opposite. We are very different people but we can make it work because we want to make it work. It’s yin and yang.
We are still getting used to seeing rings on each other’s fingers. Most gays never thought we would have the ability to marry so it’s not something you thought about.
Being married has made a difference. I now have that reassurance that, legally, I have some say. Previously I could have been denied the right to see him if, worse comes to worse, he was in hospital. Now I have the same rights as any other married couple.
We were always pretty tight, but now the depth of conversation is even deeper than before. That stuff is important.