Happy couple declare their love by the sea
THE debate over gay marriage hasn't stopped Michael Pearce and Ronald Gabriel declaring their love for each other at Bargara.
The pair joined together in a civil union on July 30, exactly one year on from their first date.
Mr Pearce said the ceremony and reception were perfect, despite the fact he fell and broke a rib while turning on the bubble machine before walking down the aisle.
Now the couple is hoping the postal plebiscite will give the green light to gay marriage.
But Mr Pearce hasn't always been a supporter of the move. Growing up in a devout Lutheran household, Mr Pearce said he was always taught marriage was between a man and woman.
Even after discovering he was gay he thought the same thing.
"Growing up I wasn't a girly boy, even though I liked icing cakes and stuff with my mum,” Mr Pearce said.
"I was brought up to marry and have children to continue the family name.
"I had girlfriends and went to dances and everything normal but it didn't feel right.”
After a relationship with a girlfriend broke down, Mr Pearce decided to "find himself”.
"I worked out I preferred boys,” Mr Pearce said.
While most of his family were supportive, his father had concerns, Mr Pearce said.
Before his death Mr Pearce's father visited him.
"He came to the house and said 'I am proud of you no matter what',” Mr Pearce said.
"He said, 'You have always been my son. Life doesn't change because you are gay or straight, it doesn't change who you are'.”
It wasn't until Mr Pearce met Mr Gabriel that he changed his mind on gay marriage.
"I knew from the minute I met him,” he said.
"I said, 'Yes honey, I want to marry you. Let's do this'. It was my idea.
"He adores me, loves me no matter what, and that's how I feel about him.”
More than 240 guests attended the union at Bargara and reception at H2O in Bundaberg.
Mr Pearce's mum made the cake.