LAUNCESTON couple Bel and Duncan St Clair examined the meaning of marriage closely before they tied the knot in December last year and decided that there were some elements of this tradition which were not based on equality at all.
In particular, the couple didn't like the idea of the bride taking the groom's name, so Belinda Sloan and Duncan Weggery decided to choose their own family name and became the St Clairs.
"I am a social worker and a lot of our reality revolves around making sure what we do, and however we contribute to the world is based on equity, and the tradition of marriage was so strongly steeped in issues for us around equality and justice," Mrs St Clair said.
"We didn't want to do anything that would mean that either of us would be considered chattels and in the origins of marriage that's what giving up the name actually means.
"We liked a lot of the other aspects of marriage like commitment and monogamy but the aspect of the woman giving up her name to become the property of a man was not something either of us could enter in to."
Other couples of similar opinion will often choose to hyphenate their names, but for the St Clairs this didn't feel right.
"It was about us forging a new identity of unity together," Mr St Clair said.
"I think part of it was also being prepared to actually make in some way a sacrifice, and getting rid of the old and starting a new journey together."
Having met in Tasmania and feeling connected to the state's scenic environment, the couple decided on the last name of St Clair, a tribute to the iconic lake nestled in Cradle Mountain.
"We also thought that if one day we have a daughter, Willow St Claire sounds beautiful," added Mrs St Clair with a giggle.
For family history reasons they decided to keep their maiden names, incorporating them in to their full names.
"My full name is Belinda Jane Sloan St Clair and Duncan is Duncan Keith Weggery St Clair which we did really for family history purposes," Mrs St Clair said.
As the couple had to change their names officially before the wedding in order to have their new name recorded on the wedding certificate, they decided to tell their families, and not everyone was happy with their choice.
Mrs St Clair's family were happy with the idea and not surprised, knowing the sometimes left-of-field nature of their daughter.
Mr St Clair's family however were not so keen on the idea, his mother and sister in particular taking offence and thinking the decision was made out of shame for his family.
However once he explained the rationale behind the idea they grew to understand.
"It is fundamentally ridiculous that Bel can walk in to a room and say I am getting married and changing my name and no-one bats an eye lid but if I do it there's all this hoo-ha over a name," Mr St Clair said.
"We discussed intimately whether our marriage was about making a point or was it more about what's right for us so it became more about the name being able to reflect something for both of us."
"It was more about belonging together as a family and it was a mutual choice to take a new identity together."