The first gay couple to appear on Channel Nine’s reality wedding show “Married At First Sight” have responded to criticism the show’s “first same-sex wedding” has attracted.
On Tuesday night, viewers met Andy John (pictured) and Craig Roach in the lead-up to their New Zealand wedding, at which they’ll meet each other for the first time at the altar.
A teaser video posted to the show’s official Facebook page was criticised by a number of commenters, with one saying it was “reducing same-sex marriage to a cheap gimmick” while another pointed out “marriage isn’t a game”. Marriage equality campaigner Dr Kerryn Phelps also blasted the show as a “bloody insult” to gay couples earlier this year.
“I’m very disappointed, actually,” Craig told Fairfax Media.
“There’s been a lot of negative comments about us setting the movement back.
“It’s a gay wedding on Australian television – they should be rejoicing, not hating on us for doing it.”
Andy appeared on Channel Nine’s Today Show on Friday to address some of the criticism.
“I think you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” he said.
“There’s been backlash from series one and two because they didn’t have a same-sex couple.”
None of the show’s marriages are legally binding, even though Andy said he and Craig were offered a legally binding marriage contract at their New Zealand nuptials.
But Andy said he doubted any of the brides or grooms were on the show “just to get married on telly”.
“For me, the marriage bit wasn’t important… It’s really an experiment to pull two people together and I’m really lucky to have been chosen to go through the experience,” he said.
“To have three or four experts match me to the guy that I’m going to spent the rest of my life with. I truly wanted to find him.”
Both of the grooms called on the Australian government to legalise same-sex marriage and hoped their onscreen wedding would help the campaign for marriage equality.
“It’s going to put it out to the masses, to make a lot of people more aware of gay marriage and how important it is that we have equal rights,” Craig told Fairfax Media.
“I see our wedding as a step forward towards bringing it to everyone’s attention.”
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