Com­mu­nity still split as postal plebiscite votes hit the sys­tem

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By Vivi­enne Duck

THE same sex mar­riage postal plebiscite has al­ready started hit­ting our let­ter­boxes.

Sup­port­ers of the yes vote in Echuca-Moama are ask­ing ev­ery­one to vote with em­pa­thy.

Gay ad­vo­cate Cris Todd said he should have the right to love who he wishes.

‘‘I should have the same rights as my fam­ily and friends and work col­leagues,’’ he said.

‘‘But I can’t marry the man I love be­cause a law doesn’t al­low it. My love is the same as a het­ero­sex­ual.’’

Mr Todd said there are a lot of scare tac­tics in some no vote ad­ver­tis­ing.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple think it doesn’t af­fect them and it is fine, but th­ese ads bring chil­dren into the de­bate and sud­denly peo­ple get scared,’’ he said.

‘‘My part­ner and I are 14 weeks preg­nant by sur­ro­gate with our first child and like any ex­pect­ing par­ents we hope to be a fam­ily unit.

‘‘We want to have the same last name as our child when it is born.

‘‘Mar­riage is about the com­ing to­gether of two fam­i­lies. Let’s just get it done.’’

Echuca Com­mu­nity Church pas­tor David McAl­lan said the postal plebiscite isn’t just about same sex mar­riage.

‘‘There will be a raft of con­se­quences if we change the def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage,’’ he said.

‘‘If gen­der no longer mat­ters within mar­riage it will no longer mat­ter within schools and work places and in every sce­nario. The neg­a­tive im­pact will be far greater and we will see more fam­ily is­sues than we have now.’’

Cam­paspe Shire coun­cil­lor Kris­ten Munro said it is about equal­ity.

‘‘We want to be the gen­er­a­tion that made change,’’ she said.

‘‘Like many gen­er­a­tions be­fore us, things change, and we be­lieve that this is the time to make mar­riage equal.’’

There was a fairly even re­sponse from the com­mu­nity on the Riv’s Face­book page which reached more than 9700 peo­ple.

Ni­cholas Hod­son said as a gay man he would be vot­ing yes.

‘‘All us yes vot­ers are ask­ing for is to be legally recog­nised in the same way our het­ero coun­ter­parts are,’’ he said.

‘‘We don't want to take any­thing away from you, it won't lessen your love, nor af­fect your life in any as­pect. We just want equal­ity, we just want in to the club called mar­riage.’’

Kel­lie Richards said she would only vote yes if it was worded dif­fer­ently.

‘‘It doesn’t af­fect me, it’s about my free­dom of choice,’’ she said. ‘‘I’d vote yes if it was worded dif­fer­ently, like hom­mage for men, fem­mage for women and mar­riage for men and women.’’

‘‘Big yes from me as I be­lieve in equal­ity and love for ev­ery­one,’’ Jody Hardi­man said. Max­ine Power said she would be vot­ing no. ‘‘Gay mar­riage un­der­mines sex roles within mar­riage, plac­ing chil­dren ever more out­side the pur­pose of mar­riage. It re­in­forced the idea all means of sex­ual sat­is­fac­tion are equal.

‘‘It’s a bad idea, just look at Canada and the US.’’

‘‘Def­i­nitely yes as it won’t af­fect me, ex­cept I’ll have a few more awe­some wed­dings to at­tend,’’ Ni­cole Cun­ning­ton said.

Bar­bara Fis­cher said as a 50-year-old she has watched bul­ly­ing since she was in pri­mary school.

‘‘I’ve seen what is was like when gay peo­ple didn't ex­ist in the pub­lic eye,’’ she said.

‘‘Be­cause it was deemed un­ac­cept­able. I’m sick of this bul­ly­ing, it has to stop, I’m vot­ing yes.’’

Photo: Luke Hemer.

YES: Back row - David Bates, Ryan Jiebin, Peter Wil­liams, Bruce Pear­son and Phillip Bell. Front row - Dal­ima Isean, An­nie Mid­dle­ton, Cris Todd, Kris­ten Munro and Har­vey Grif­fiths.

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