Australia’s first same-sex marriage has ended, coming to a tragic finale only 46 days after the couple’s vows were exchanged. Jo Grant and Jill Kindt were married on December 15, 2017, with registry staff waiving the 30-day waiting period due to exceptional circumstances.
The couple had been together for eight years and had held a commitment ceremony in 2013, but the pair wanted to get married as soon as possible. Grant was terminally ill with a rare cancer of her appendix, and receiving palliative care. Kindt was, like always, was by her side.
Desperately aware Grant’s time was running out, the pair were scared that Grant would not make it through the same-sex marriage postal survey.
“We were relieved when Australia voted yes,” she said. “We weren’t excited, we were actually relieved.”
Kindt said the couple did not want to get married to be the “first”, and they considered each other a spouse since their “promise day” on March 23, 2013.
“We did it because we wanted to make legal something that we did a while ago,” she said. “The reason we did [get married then] is a tremendously sad one and I would trade everything for not having to stand here and talk about this story, but I’m glad the story’s being told for Jo.”
Kindt said the medical process demonstrated the issues with not being legally married.
“We had to continually define and explain our relationship through the different hospitals,” she said. “People on the ground were wonderful, nurses, doctors … but perhaps the bureaucracy wasn’t there.
“I was filling out a form in the emergency place one day and I couldn’t tick what I wanted to tick, and people stopping you from going in a place … No one questions a marriage certificate, which I have found out since.”
Grant died on Tuesday, January 30. The pair were legally married for 46 days.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath shared the couple’s story in the Queensland Parliament on Wednesday, with the family watching on from the public gallery.
“The photos of their wedding day are very special,” she said. “Jo was very frail, but you see the love between these two people, and in one shot, Jo’s arms raised triumphantly as she and Jill laugh.”
“Jo’s mum, Sandra, believes the marriage renewed Jo’s spirit, keeping her alive along enough to have one last Christmas with her family.”
“She passed away knowing she got to fulfill her wish to get married to the person she loved.”