After her wife was tragically killed in a car accident, Sydney woman Lara Ryan has spoken out for marriage equality in a Facebook post.
The post reads:
"This is why."
"Because having lost my partner in a horrible pedestrian accident this month I had to ask policemen if I was 'allowed' to write Spouse on incident reports. I had to cross out boxes for husband on the death certificate and boxes for father on our new baby's birth certificate (both on the same day). I had to yell out in a busy, crazy emergency room 'She is my wife, I know it's not legal but she is my wife!'"
"Because we were never political, we just did our thing, did our life our way and tried to live by example to shift peoples hearts rather than pushing agendas. BUT the amount of freaking paper work I am having to do to secure mine and my children's future welfare is just ridiculous when all it would take is one marriage certificate."
"And most of all because I love her, and she has been my every day for ten years, She is the mother of our two girls, she is the future I dreamed of and she is my safe place to land."
"Because love is love and we should celebrate it and encourage it always.
The world is harsh enough. Feel free to share widely - #thisiswhy"
Ryan's wife, Elise (pictured), died on February 9 this year, one day after she was struck by a car while walking her four-year-old daughter Ivy home from daycare.
"An old man got his accelerator confused with his brake, as far as we know," Ryan told BuzzFeed News. "He looked like he was slowing down for her and he sped up."
Elise's unexpected, tragic death came just three weeks after she gave birth to the couple's second daughter, Skylar.
The family had not even had a chance to take a photo with all four of them together when Elise was tragically killed.
Ryan told BuzzFeed News she "wasn't normally political" about marriage or being gay.
"We had a wedding, we’ve lived together for ten years, we’ve had a baby. It’s never been an issue – I’m happy in my little life, there are bigger issues in the world."
But deep in grief and mired in bureaucracy after Elise's death, Ryan posted a Facebook status which has since garnered over 40,000 shares.
"I had spent the day on the phone to Centrelink, to my health insurance company, Medicare – just having to fill in ridiculous forms and boxes I couldn’t tick," Ryan told BuzzFeed News.
Ryan and her wife were legally considered a de facto partnership. Under federal law and in NSW, same-sex de facto couples have the same legal rights as straight de facto and married couples when it comes to death and property issues.
However, the fact their marriage was not a legal one still led Ryan to confusion and anguish amidst the tragic accident.
"I had to ask policemen if I was 'allowed' to write spouse on incident reports," Ryan wrote.
"I had to yell out in a busy, crazy emergency room 'She is my wife, I know it's not legal but she is my wife!'"
Ryan was shocked at how viral her status went.
"I posted it on Facebook, went to bed, woke up the next morning and it was going crazy."
Some of Ryan's friends have started a GoFundMe to help alleviate the financial burden Lara now faces as a single mother of two.
She told BuzzFeed News Ivy and Skylar are doing well, considering the circumstances.
"The little one is fantastic, my parents are giving her a lot of love at the moment. The four-year-old’s got a lot of questions," she said.
"I’m probably doing the worst out of everyone."
Ryan finished her Facebook post with a beautiful tribute to her late wife.
"And most of all because I love her, and she has been my every day for ten years, She is the mother of our two girls, she is the future I dreamed of and she is my safe place to land," she wrote.