“TO­GETHER, WE MUST DO EV­ERY­THING WE CAN TO LET LOVE WIN”

Louise Pratt, sen­a­tor

ELLE (Australia) - - This Month -

This is a heart­felt mes­sage to read­ers. I want you to know that les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and in­ter­sex peo­ple across Aus­tralia feel dis­heart­ened by this postal sur­vey on mar­riage. We should not have to go door to door to ask for our part­ner’s hand in mar­riage. Nor should our chil­dren have to lis­ten to a de­bate that den­i­grates the sta­tus of our fam­i­lies.

Most Aus­tralians are in favour of mar­riage equal­ity. We do not need a postal sur­vey to tell us that. But since our gov­ern­ment, sadly, is con­trolled by politi­cians who don’t be­lieve in equal­ity, be­cause our re­la­tion­ships don’t fit their nar­row, con­ser­va­tive ideas, well, we sim­ply can’t let them win. So yes, it’s un­fair – but now that it’s been forced upon us, we should do ev­ery­thing we can to make sure the re­sult is an over­whelm­ing “Yes”.

Those against equal­ity don’t want to talk about mar­riage; they want to talk about any­thing but mar­riage. In­stead, we see pro­pa­ganda about school pro­grams, fake sta­tis­tics about our chil­dren and a false panic about re­li­gious free­dom. Th­ese are all dis­trac­tions and show that when it comes to the real ques­tion, mar­riage equal­ity, the “No” case has no ar­gu­ment. They know they’re on the wrong side of his­tory.

My feel­ings about th­ese is­sues did not start be­cause I am gay my­self or be­cause I am a par­ent to a beau­ti­ful tod­dler. They were set in the school­yard when I was a child and my brother, who was al­most ex­actly the same age as my son is now, was taunt­ingly called a bas­tard. My mother and step­fa­ther (who I’ve al­ways called Dad) were not yet mar­ried. While I didn’t quite know what the word meant, I knew it was bad and it hurt – a lot.

Any real con­ver­sa­tion about what fam­ily means in Aus­tralia to­day recog­nises that fam­i­lies come in all shapes and sizes. Aus­tralians know that love, care and com­mit­ment ex­ist within the great di­ver­sity of fam­i­lies, be it step-par­ents, sin­gle par­ents, grand­par­ents rais­ing grand­chil­dren, straight, gay, mar­ried or not.

Aus­tralians also know that their gay and les­bian friends, fam­ily mem­bers, col­leagues and team­mates are just as com­mit­ted to their part­ners and fam­i­lies as other Aus­tralians. Aus­tralians know it’s not fair to deny us the same op­por­tu­ni­ties and aspi­ra­tions as other Aus­tralians. I don’t think Aus­tralia will let those who are against equal­ity win.

Say­ing “Yes” to mar­riage equal­ity won’t change a thing for those who are now, or who are able to be, mar­ried – but this change in our law will mean a lot for gay and les­bian Aus­tralians and our fam­i­lies. It will mean that my re­la­tion­ship is equal and equally recog­nised by the coun­try I love.

So please, whether you are straight or gay, voting for a fair go for your­self or for a friend, for a fam­ily mem­ber or a col­league, for a neigh­bour or a stranger, don’t for­get to check your let­ter­box. Take that pre­cious lit­tle piece of pa­per, vote “Yes”, and send a mes­sage of fair­ness, re­spect and equal­ity. Re­mind your friends and fam­ily to do the same. To­gether, we must do ev­ery­thing we can to let love win.

OL­LIE HEN­DER­SON, HOUSE OF RIOT

NI­COLE WARNE, GARY PEP­PER

“I’M VOTING ‘YES’ BE­CAUSE IT’S EM­BAR­RASS­ING IT HASN’T HAP­PENED AL­READY.” DANNY CLAY­TON

MAD­DI­SON BROWN

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