Today the High Court of Australia ruled to proceed with the postal survey on Same-Sex Marriage. Most Australians by now have heard of the postal survey which is open to all Australians on the electoral roll and will take place from September 12 until the results will be delivered on November 15.
The survey is being run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and is non-binding and not mandatory. It is not being run by the Australian Electoral Commission. What that means is that regardless of the outcome the government don’t need to act and it is not mandatory to vote. This is why there is an overwhelming need to vote yes in this survey.
Voting yes will demonstrate that Australia is a country that seeks equality for their citizens. Voting yes will demonstrate that every day people consider their LGBTIQ family and friends equally deserving of the right to marry. Voting yes will demonstrate that this topic is about one thing – the ability for 2 people of the same gender to marry. What voting yes will not do is change anything else. It will not change school programs, it will not stop children being raised by LGBTIQ parents and it will not impact on the ability for churches to choose not to marry same-sex couples. There is no slippery slope. No one will be able to marry their dog or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The only children to worry about are those who are growing up LGBTIQ and being exposed to some of the lies being told by those planning to vote no.
I am personally asking everyone who reads this to vote yes.
Whether you know me or not it is more than likely you know someone like me. They may go to your church, they may work with you, they may be in your social club, they may have kids at your school, they may be your doctor, your nurse or they may be your family members and friends. You may or may not be aware that they are part of the LGBTIQ community.
I am a woman in my 40’s, I have a wife (yes we married in New Zealand last year however our marriage is not recognised here in Australia), I am employed and we have two children. I have been with my wife for 19 years and we welcomed our two children to our family a number of years after we started our relationship. We are a family. Not that any of that actually matters.
What does matter is that I am an Australian and I deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of our law. As does every LGBTIQ person. Voting yes and demanding an amendment to the Marriage Act will do just that. I don’t have to explain my relationship to you; just as you don’t have to explain yours to me. Yet I do this to demonstrate that our lives are not dissimilar.
I am personally asking you to vote yes. I am also asking that you speak with the people around you and talk about why you are voting yes. It is especially important to talk with people who may are not be close to the LGBTIQ community. It is clear and has been clear through repeated opinion polls that the majority of Australians support marriage equality. What is vitally important now is that every one of those supporters has the motivation to fill out the ballot and post it back.
I am asking you from the heart to please do not engage in the negative conversation at the very least. Perhaps even call people out when you hear them telling lies about gay people or what the true nature of this survey is actually about.
Simply start a conversation, I guarantee that it will get easier the more you do it.
The blogs I have provided below cover most of my thoughts on a plebiscite and the state of the Marriage Act. There is a caveat of course that this one does not follow the electoral rules of a true plebiscite as it is a survey.