Married: Donovan and Michael Wynne
(Pic: Pro Design Photographers)
Michael Cronje and Donovan Wynne, who were refused their right to marry by a Port Elizabeth Home Affairs office in August, have finally tied the knot.
The couple were told by a rude official at the city’s North End Home Affairs in August that the office does not “do” gay marriages.
After their plight became public, Home Affairs Eastern Cape Provincial Manager Sonto Lusu apologised to the couple and offered to arrange their marriage. They declined and chose to instead do so privately.
On Saturday morning, Michael, who has since changed his surname to Wynne, and Donovan were married by the Reverend Helen Penfold at the Association for Creative Thought.
However, they saved their vows and the exchange of rings for a reception ceremony later that night at a restaurant in front of 60 friends and family.
“Once we had said our vows the crowd roared and cheered,” Michael told Mambaonline, adding that he is “very happy” to finally be married.
“I feel that our relationship finally has social legitimacy,” commented Donovan. He said that the Home Affairs issue had not ultimately affected their wedding day.
“Although the whole incident certainly shaped our course of action, I feel that the actual event was too perfect to be marred by any such ill feelings. By having our evening such a success we have risen above the petty issues of the few uneducated bigots,” Donovan said.
He added: “As more gay couples emerge with the intention of getting married, the process will become smoother each time until there is no difference between heterosexual and homosexual marriage”.
Michael revealed that the couple has chosen not to take legal action against Home Affairs because the official who was rude to them would have lost her job.
“We felt that this course of action would have put her and her family in jeopardy. We feel that instead of being fired she should be educated,” he said.
Michael told Mambaonline on Wednesday that he had been informed by the Gender Commission that the couple’s marriage data had been captured by Home Affairs and that someone has been allocated to the department in Port Elizabeth to ensure that the new details are included in new ID books and passports.
Michael and Donovan plan to honeymoon in Cape Town in December.