Press Release – TVNZ
I think its important for our family that were building, and whatever definition of family we might have, its really important to us to be able to make that commitment and do the normal things like buy the house, have the babies.Q+A March 10 – Susan Wood interviews Taryn Kerr and Sasha Kljakovic
Sunday March 10, 2012
SUSAN WOOD interviews TARYN KERR and SASHA KLJAKOVIC
Q+A, 9-10am Sundays on TV ONE and one hour later on TV ONE plus 1. Repeated Sunday evening at 11:30pm. Streamed live at www.tvnz.co.nz.
Thanks to the support from NZ On Air.
Q + A – March 10, 2013
TARYN KERR and SASHA KLJAKOVIC
Interviewed by SUSAN WOOD
SUSAN Taryn, Sasha, good morning.
SASHA KLJAKOVIC – Newly engaged
TARYN KERR – Newly engaged
SUSAN Engagement party last night.
SASHA Yes. Feeling a bit tired.
SUSAN I was going to say you’re looking quite perky, considering. Why does it matter to you to be married to each other?
SASHA It’s just essentially just to be the same as everybody else.
SUSAN But you’re not. You’re two women.
SASHA Yep, we are two women.
TARYN I think it’s important for our family that we’re building, and whatever definition of family we might have, you know, compared to other people, it’s really important to us to be able to make that commitment and do the normal things – like buy the house, have the babies. All that sort of stuff.
SUSAN Your families support you on this?
TARYN For the most part, yes.
SUSAN For the most part? What does that mean?
SASHA Well, it’s always a journey for anybody.
TARYN Straight or gay.
TARYN Any kind of wedding is a bit stressful, but, you know, it’s just—
SUSAN With two brides, I’d imagine that’d be perhaps even more the case.
SASHA Yeah. You know, buying two rings, buying two dresses.
SUSAN Are you going to do the traditional long white dress sort of thing?
TARYN Oh yeah.
SASHA I’d say so. Taryn might jazz it up a bit.
TARYN Fabulous dresses.
SUSAN But the fact is you are not traditional, and a lot of people who have very firmly held beliefs, very genuine beliefs, say that marriage is between a man and a woman and God. What do you say to those people?
TARYN I don’t think marriage has anything to do with religion. I think marriage is about anybody that wants a— you know, within reason – who wants to make a commitment to each other.
SASHA And if you look back in time, actually marriage is something that was a Pagan ritual that came before lots of other religions, so it’s actually just a symbol. That’s what marriage is – back in the day, way back in the day.
SUSAN But you could civil union. That does that, doesn’t it? That commits you to each other.
SASHA You could.
TARYN Have you been to a civil union ceremony?
SUSAN No, I haven’t.
TARYN Yeah. You know, “You are now committed as partners for life” sounds very different to “you are married”.
SUSAN Yeah. But you’re not going to be man and wife. You see, it’s not going to be traditional anyway.
TARYN No, but “you are married as wives”. I suppose it sounds different. But it’s… You know, yeah.
SUSAN Children on the agenda?
TARYN Oh yeah.
SUSAN And if you can’t have children naturally— Well, obviously you’re going to have to get some extra help along that. Would you look at adopting, though?
SASHA Oh, that’s a possibility.
TARYN Yeah, we’d like to be able to consider all options, and that’s what we’re after is we want to have options.
SASHA The same right as everyone else, I think. For us, I think, we’re so sort of… It’s so not an issue for us this whole, you know, marriage debate. For us, it should just be how it is.
TARYN Well, it is an issue. You know, it definitely is an issue for us.
SASHA Oh, it is an issue, yes.
TARYN But, I mean, I suppose we just feel so normal. We feel part of our community. We’re embraced by everybody in our professional lives, personal lives and things like that, so we’ve sort of gone, “Oh, actually, we can’t get married.” You know, the next step is really difficult for us.
SUSAN But there is a big part of the New Zealand community – more than a third, probably, if you believe the polls – actually say, “Nah, it’s not between two women. It’s not between two men. It’s between a man and a woman and it’s a sacred thing between a man and a woman.”
TARYN I suppose all you have to do is look at the people around you and all the beautiful colours and the depth and breadth of who these people come as, and you leave the judgement at the door when you see two people just wanting to love. And that’s all it’s about. It’s not about judgement. It’s about acceptance and loving those people.
SUSAN Many people think it’s some sort of social experiment, especially when you bring children into and, and we’ve seen the coroner, in his personal capacity – Gordon Matenga – putting in a submission saying just that: it’s a social experiment, especially when you bring children in it, and until he sees evidence that children aren’t harmed, he doesn’t think it should happen.
SASHA Well, there is a lot of studies that have actually been done. There’s been lots of randomised controlled trials that have been done studying mainly lesbian couples. However, there are some randomised control trials that are now out there between gay dads. And all the psychological evidence actually points to the fact that the children are well adjusted. They’re not any more gay than any other rest of the population.
TARYN They’re planned as well, so you have to have everything ready for them.
SASHA Yeah, they’re usually planned, really well-loved children who grow up in an environment where they see love. And that’s going to create good, because people need love. They don’t need—
TARYN And children aren’t actually the ones that have all these hang-ups. They’re actually the ones who look at love and just see love. They don’t— You know, a lot of children around us, eh, they’re just, “Oh, what’s the big deal?”
SASHA Yeah, yeah.
SUSAN So, finally, because I’m going to ask Colin Craig in a moment, but to you, just tell me about how emotional and how meaningful a marriage to each other is.
TARYN I think it’s just so much part of our story, and you look out there at the moment, and there isn’t much representation about gay marriage and things like that or evidence of it. And when you look at that and you see that your story’s not being told, it sends a message that it’s not worth telling. And for us to be able to get married changes that story.
SUSAN So it makes you feel second-class, to some degree?
SASHA Yeah, a little bit. Yeah.
TARYN Yeah, it changes the story going forward. Yeah, it’s really really important to us. I’m madly in love with this person.
SUSAN Alright, Taryn and Sasha, thank you.