"A year ago, I was stressed at the time to tell everyone I was in love with another man," Dormer says, "and to think now I'm engaged, and now it really feels I can get married. It's just a dream come true just how far I've come in my personal life, but then how far my country has come."
When Dormer, 33, and Toweel, 28, got engaged in May, the postal survey was not part of the national equation yet and the pair thought their engagement would be long. Although they could have had a civil union or eloped overseas, they wanted to wait to marry at home and wanted to marry with their family present. "When you're young and you're thinking about your life and getting married, I never considered that it wouldn't be legal when I first found love," Dormer concedes. "We've got our engagement party in a week and it's been a really tough year getting my conservative family to kind of understand that my relationship is just like my sisters' and that my mum and dad can celebrate that I've found love."
Through the process of voting, Dormer says he and his family members have had good conversations, ones that have brought them closer. "That's what's really important to me," he says, "that the family didn't break up over the differences in opinion."
As Dormer thinks about his future, he says, "I think kids and wedding are on the horizon," even if his household skills may need a bit of a brush-up. "I always thought that I would be working and Ash would be the stay-at-home mum, but we've kind of swapped," he says, then laughs. "I'm so terrible at cooking and cleaning. I'm probably not good at changing nappies either, who knows?"
But just the prospect of Tim Dormer, Married Dad "has made me reconsider my own goals," he says, "like, wow, I would like to be a stay-at-home dad. I'd have the coolest kids in the world!"
To read more from Tim Dormer, Senator Penny Wong and MP Tim Wilson, pick up the latest issue of WHO on newsstands today.