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Seeking your vote: Jess and Rachel

Wed 24 Jul 2013 In: True Stories View at Wayback View at NDHA

Bay of Islands couple Jess and Rachel are among the final four couples in The Edge’s Same Sex Wedding competition. Rachel spills on the rollicking ride that brought them together and outlines why she thinks you should vote for them! Tell us your love story: I took a year out between my Masters and PHD to travel with my best friend from uni. New Zealand was first on my trip, and we had booked a Kiwi Experience travel pass so we could see the whole country. Jess was booked onto a familiarisation trip with one of her friends that drives the bus. They flew to Christchurch and picked us up in Kaikoura. The short version of this story would end with "the rest is history" - but there's heaps more to it than that! Jess and I get talking on the bus, and I kept asking her the names of bands, half interested and half looking for an excuse to talk to her! I didn't know she was gay at the time, I just knew that she was an awesome chick that I wanted to spend time with. We bonded over drinks and being the only two smokers on the bus at the massive party Kiwi threw at Mahinipua. We went out to do a skydive together, and next thing we knew we were in Queenstown. Jess wanted someone to do the Nevis Ark swing with her, and she found me. The drive out to AJ Hacket is about an hour and we got chatting. On the way down while the adrenalin was still coursing through out veins - I asked Jess to fill out the little black address book my friend had got me for travelling. It asked for names, addresses, phone numbers, looks out of 10 in the morning and number of sexual partners!! Jess asked if I wanted girls or boys and I was a little taken aback. It must have planted a seed ... We went for a few drinks and then Jess went for dinner with her best friend. We arranged to meet up later and I went home to get ready. I washed my hair and straightened it, put on a full face of make-up and my favourite dress (anybody that's backpacked knows how hard this can be). I stopped dead in my tracks walking halfway down the hill - realising I'd gotten ready for a date!! We met up, drank several gins and arranged to do another canyon swing in the morning. Jess said it would be easier to stay at her hotel, but went home early. Before I knew it I'd convinced the night porter at Nomads to let me into the hotel, and knocked on her door at 3am ... Jess left Queenstown and we kept in touch. We arranged for me to come and visit her in Paihia, where I met her friends and her brother's family as he was over visiting. We went up to Taupo Bay and went out on the Rock's overnight cruise. The weekend went too fast and before I knew it I was on a flight to Australia. We spoke everyday while I was travelling, and Jess decided to come and meet me in Thailand for her winter holiday. We realised then that we had found in each other was as close as you can get to perfect. I carried on travelling and returned home to Manchester. I told Jess I would save up for a flight and get a work visa - she surprised me on my birthday three weeks later by showing up at my local train station with a ticket back to NZ!! As you can tell, this couple has a lot of fun together! That was three and a half years ago, and we've lived together ever since. We joked when we first met about getting married: we decided by tossing a coin! I bought our engagement rings when I was home with my mum, and when The Edge called to interview us they suggested that I could propose on air. I'd not been able to surprise her before then, and probably won't be able to again! Jess and I bought a house late last year, and my best friend got married in June over in the UK this year. While both things are amazing, it meant that we wouldn't be able to afford a wedding for a considerable amount of time. Jess and I had been following the progress of the Bill through parliament, and cried at the beautiful waiata that followed the declaration of the vote. We saw the competition and thought It would be a lot of fun to get involved in, with the possibility of being able to cement our relationship sooner rather than later and be a part of history. What would winning the competition mean to you? I did my Masters in Medical law and medical ethics, and I wrote my thesis on womb transplants in men. It might sound out there - but the (very basic) theory behind it is that with hormone replacement therapy, male to female transsexuals and gay men could have a transplant and carry a child. I was in a heterosexual relationship at the time, but the subject and issues around it resonated with me. If the medical community had solved the practical problems, I didn't see why there should be any ethical or legal roadblocks and argued as such. As it turns out, the person I love with all my heart and have chosen to spend the rest of my life with shares the same gender as me. It's amazing to live in a country that have levelled the playing field, and recognises that people in love, irrespective of who they are in love with, should be allowed to publically commit to that person for the rest of their lives. Winning this competition means that we can do this - on the first day it becomes legal. That's very special. That said, if we don't win, we will be getting married in November 2014 - because we can!! Why should people vote for you? People should vote for us because we're two women, madly in love, and would relish the opportunity to marry on the first day sex same marriage becomes legal. I might be English, but this legislation is about equality so it shouldn't matter where I'm from. New Zealand is a melting pot of nationalities that co-exist happily, and the support we have received from Northland and our friends across the country illustrates this. Jess and I have the same dreams and aspirations that many couples have, no matter what their sexual orientation or nationality: we want to be married, raise a family and live happily ever after. You can vote for Jess and Rachel and check out The Edge's Same Sex Wedding competition page here     Jess and Rachel, with - 24th July 2013

Credit: Jess and Rachel, with

First published: Wednesday, 24th July 2013 - 9:22am

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