Virginia Flitcroft and Christine Forster marry

Virginia Flitcroft and her partner Christine Forster have wed in front of family and friends in Sydney.

The couple, who have been together for more than a decade, had a prominent role in Australia’s debate over marriage equality. Christine Forster was a leading advocate for the laws to be changed, while her brother, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott campaigned against reform.

Speaking to Channel Ten’s The Project ahead of their ceremony Christine Forster said they were a bit nervous, but finally being able to get married was “everything” to the couple.

“For us to be able to get married here in Sydney with our friends and our family at our sides, and to get married under Australian law, it’s amazing,” she said.

“I’m still in some ways pinching myself about this, because it was such a long time coming and it was a very long and hard fight for marriage equality in this country.”

Forster described the support she had received from her brother in the lead up to their nuptials as “fabulous”.

Both women were previously in heterosexual marriages, and while Virginia has reverted to her maiden name, Christine said she would be keeping her current surname, rather than being known as Christine Abbott.

The couple’s story will be the focus of this week’s edition of the ABC’s Australian Story. The episode will be introduced by Magda Szubanski.

In a television exclusive, Australian Story joins the guests at the high profile wedding – including a mix of Liberal politicians, well known drag queens, as well as Tony Abbott and his mother Fay, both of whom voted against the same-sex marriage plebiscite last year.

But behind the champagne, frocks and flowers is a quest for understanding and a story of a family divided.

Christine and Virginia talk frankly about how news of their relationship impacted on their families, and about some of their regrets.

The couple discuss the emotional fallout of spearheading the ‘yes’ case for same sex marriage, and the impact of brother Tony Abbott’s lobbying for the ‘no’ case.

In the broadcast Virginia recounts a conversation she had with the former Prime Minister ahead of the pubic debate.

“Tony and I had a discussion and I said, I fully understand that you needed to make your case, and make it clearly, but it’s not okay to use your sibling as a political football,” Flitcroft says in the program.

For his part Tony Abbott says it is possible to still love family members while you disagree with their viewpoint.

“I accept that people do disagree. It doesn’t mean they don’t like each other. It doesn’t mean they can’t love each other,” Abbott says in the program.

Australian Story airs on ABCTV at 8:00pm on Monday 5th February. 

OIP Staff, image: Brent Wilson


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