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