‘Yes’ cam­paign sup­port­ers urge Rochy res­i­dents to re­mem­ber...

Campaspe News - - FRONT PAGE - By VIVI­ENNE DUCK

SUP­PORT­ERS of same sex mar­riage have urged Rochester to vote with love.

With the postal plebiscite ex­pected to ar­rive in let­ter­boxes across the coun­try later this year, res­i­dents have come out in sup­port of the yes vote. And the no. Rochester’s Ni­cholas Hod­son said grow­ing up in a coun­try town as a gay man was bru­tal.

‘‘I was bul­lied in high school, bashed and called ev­ery ho­mo­pho­bic derog­a­tive term un­der the sun,’’ he said.

‘‘Even com­ing out later it was still re­ally dif­fi­cult.

‘‘Even the fact that I liked net­ball more than foot­ball was some­thing that was re­ally hard.’’

The 34-year-old said if Aus­tralia could nor­malise mar­riage we could nor­malise ev­ery­thing else.

‘‘We can make it eas­ier for the LGBTI com­mu­nity,’’ he said.

‘‘Mar­riage is a le­gal is­sue and not a re­li­gious one.

‘‘The post vote al­lows for re­li­gious free­dom as well but we need to think about the gen­er­a­tions that fol­low us and not just cou­ples now who are en­gaged and want to get mar­ried.

‘‘I hope that peo­ple think about the teens in ru­ral Aus­tralia that think they aren’t okay or are weird and think about what this means for them. ‘‘It is time to get on board.’’ Ni­cholas said vot­ers needed to think about the hu­man el­e­ment rather than the po­lit­i­cal.

‘‘Although this makes me an­gry that our government has gone down this path and not just voted on it in par­lia­ment I think peo­ple need to think about who it will af­fect,’’ he said. ‘‘Whether that be your sis­ter, aunty, cousin, mother or grand­daugh­ter or those in your fam­ily who aren’t even born yet.’’

Rochester ward coun­cil­lor Leigh Wil­son proudly sup­ports mar­riage equal­ity. ‘‘There are very few peo­ple who don’t know some­one who as­so­ci­ates with LGBTI,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a bit non­sen­si­cal that we can treat peo­ple dif­fer­ently sim­ply by pick­ing and choos­ing. It all comes down to hav­ing re­spect and equal rights.’’

Cr Wil­son said he un­der­stood that same sex mar­riage of­fended some peo­ple.

‘ Mar­riage is a le­gal is­sue and not a re­li­gious one ’ — Ni­cholas Hod­son

‘‘For what­ever rea­son it is some­thing peo­ple don’t like but we all have chal­lenges we have to over­come,’’ he said.

‘‘Vot­ing yes is about treat­ing peo­ple the way we want to be treated.’’

Rochester Pres­by­te­rian Church Rev­erend Stu­art Withers said he stood be­hind the no vote.

‘‘I think the government has an in­ter­est in defin­ing what mar­riage is and for our so­ci­ety the tra­di­tional def­i­ni­tion does serve the pub­lic well,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t see mar­riage as an equal­ity is­sue. I would ask those who are un­de­cided to lis­ten care­fully to the de­bate.

‘‘Un­doubt­edly a change in def­i­ni­tion will change the way our so­ci­ety works and the fab­ric of our com­mu­nity.’’

Com­ment­ing on a Cam­paspe News Face­book post, Rochester and district voiced their views on the is­sue.

Stephen Bond said he would be vot­ing no.

‘‘I think 122 mil­lion bucks could be put to a more worth­while cause than this and this is what politi­cians are elected to sort out, not run to the vot­ers when it gets too hard,’’ he said.

Tom McCarthy said he would also be vot­ing no.

‘‘It also opens the doors to less than de­sir­able fac­tions within so­ci­ety: ie safe schools groom­ing pro­gram,’’ he wrote.

‘‘I will not be made to feel guilty for be­ing a white, mid­dle-age, het­ero­sex­ual male.’’

Robyn MacLean said she would vote yes.

‘‘Who other peo­ple love is none of my busi­ness. I’m an­gry that it’s come to a plebiscite but I’m not go­ing to pun­ish any­one be­cause of that by vot­ing no,’’ she wrote.

Re­nata Beall said she be­lieved in so­cial jus­tice.

‘‘It is their right to choose their part­ner and need the pro­tec­tion of law for fam­i­lies,’’ she wrote.

Kate Roberts said it was time to make laws that stopped the spread of hate and evil.

‘‘Not ones that per­se­cute peo­ple for who they love,’’ she wrote.

‘‘You know the worst thing that will hap­pen if we le­galise same sex mar­riage? Gay peo­ple will get mar­ried ... that’s it. Let peo­ple love each other.’’

‘‘Yes from me be­cause equal­ity and fair­ness,’’ Vin­nie Pi­atek wrote.

‘ Who other peo­ple love is none of my busi­ness ’ — Robyn MacLean

Photo: Luke He­mer

Ni­cholas Hodson, Cr Leigh Wil­son, cel­e­brant Tra­cie Kyne and Ash Wat­son from REDHS are back­ing the push for same sex mar­riage.

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