The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - Cait­lan Charles cait­lan.charles@dai­lyex­am­

FOR Graeme East and his part­ner Dean, the mar­riage equal­ity vote isn’t just a vote, it’s an im­por­tant step in al­low­ing them to for­mally recog­nise their 15-year re­la­tion­ship with mar­riage.

To­day, the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics will an­nounce the re­sults of their same-sex mar­riage vote, which Mr East hopes will be a re­sound­ing “yes”.

“If the opin­ion polls are to be be­lieved, we will get a vote in ex­cess of 60%,” he said.

De­spite his hope for a “yes” vote, Mr East is wor­ried about how the fed­eral politi­cians will treat the vote.

“Some of them have said they will vote how their elec­torate votes,” he said.

Hav­ing been to­gether for longer than a lot of mar­riages, Mr East said he and his parter want to have their re­la­tion­ship recog­nised for­mally.

“We’ve hated the whole process,” he said. “We’re op­posed to hav­ing this sur­vey, it’s non-com­pul­sory, non-bind­ing and a com­plete waste of money, and it’s pro­vided a plat­form for peo­ple to say nasty things.

“But we felt obliged to go pub­lic with our per­sonal story.

“We wrote a note to about 200 house­holds in our area shar­ing our story.

“It was ask­ing for peo­ple to sup­port us, and it was some­thing we shouldn’t have had to do, but we felt we owed to the younger peo­ple com­ing through.”

Mr East said they didn’t hear any­thing neg­a­tive from their neigh­bours, with a few peo­ple they didn’t ex­pect say­ing they’d sup­port them.

“I hap­pened to be across the road talk­ing to peo­ple in their 90s, and the chap stood up, shook my hand and said we have their sup­port,” he said.

“It’s say­ing no to some­thing if you don’t know any gay peo­ple, but it’s con­fronting when you’re talk­ing about the cou­ple across the road who life a nor­mal life.”

Mr East added he is con­cerned about the politi­cians try­ing to add amend­ments to the vote.

“The peo­ple voted on a sim­ple ques­tion, not all of this other non­sense about weeding cakes and the safe school pro­gram, and that’s what this vote should be.”

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Page, Kevin Ho­gan, still stands by his de­ci­sion to vote ac­cord­ing to the re­sult.

He added that de­spite the is­sues plagu­ing par­lia­ment right now, in­clud­ing the cit­i­zen­ship is­sues, the same-sex mar­riage vote will not be pushed aside.

“If the re­sult is yes, the plan is for a bill to come be­fore par­lia­ment and passed be­fore Christ­mas,” he said.


VI­TAL: Dean Va­le­rio and Graeme East.

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