Magda Szuban­ski says 'some did not sur­vive' the mar­riage equal­ity postal sur­vey

The Guardian Australia - - Politics - Aus­tralian As­so­ci­ated Press

Aus­tralia may never know the hu­man toll the same-sex mar­riage postal sur­vey ex­acted on its cit­i­zens, an emo­tional Magda Szuban­ski has told the Na­tional Press Club.

The ac­tor and prom­i­nent yes cam­paign ad­vo­cate fiercely op­posed the de­ci­sion to con­duct a postal sur­vey, say­ing it would have ad­verse ef­fects on gay and les­bian peo­ple.

Speak­ing while the Se­nate was in the fi­nal stages of de­bate to le­galise

same-sex mar­riage, she said she was re­lieved nearly two-thirds of Aus­tralians had voted yes.

“The LGBTQI com­mu­nity were used as un­will­ing hu­man guinea pigs in a political ex­per­i­ment,” she said on Wednesday. “We may never know the ex­act hu­man cost of this ex­per­i­ment. The truth is some of us did not sur­vive this process.”

Calls to LGBTQI help lines rose 300% dur­ing the de­bate over re­cent months.

Asked whether the ends jus­ti­fied the means, Szuban­ski said she could only wish a dif­fer­ent path had been taken.

“Know­ing that 62% of peo­ple wanted this is an amaz­ing feel­ing, but would I trade that for the suf­fer­ing? I don’t know. Who can make that call?” she said.

“This was a happy out­come but if a vote is ever put to the peo­ple like this again, I plead with you: do it bet­ter than this was done.”

Szuban­ski asked politi­cians to quickly le­galise mar­riage equal­ity and not be­tray the will of the peo­ple.

“In purely political terms it was a land­slide, and if yes was a political party we would now have a stag­ger­ing ma­jor­ity of 100 seats,” she said. “We have done our job. Now they must do theirs.”

Her speech came while the same­sex mar­riage bill was be­ing de­bated in the Se­nate where it passed 43 votes to 12.

The leg­is­la­tion heads to the lower house when it re­turns to Can­berra on Mon­day.

Magda Szuban­ski says she’s re­lieved the postal sur­vey achieved a ma­jor­ity yes vote, but its hu­man cost was huge. Pho­to­graph: ABC TV

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