MAK­ING VOTES COUNT

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - Mar­guerite Cud­dihy Mar­guerite.Cud­dihy@west­ern­starnews.com

About 75% of Aus­tralians said they would vote for mar­riage equal­ity.

— Joel Richters, Rain­bow La­bor Qld

SAME-sex mar­riage postal sur­veys are due to hit our mail­boxes any day now and ad­vo­cates on both sides of the de­bate have urged Aus­tralians to make their votes count.

The Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics says all bal­lots for the $122 mil­lion process should be re­ceived by Mon­day, Septem­ber 25.

Any­thing But Straight, a non-profit com­mu­nity group es­tab­lished to help over­come the so­cial and emo­tional iso­la­tion ex­pe­ri­enced by LGBTI peo­ple in the Maranoa, hosted a fo­rum on Wed­nes­day night to dis­cuss mar­riage equal­ity.

Any­thing But Straight di­rec­tor Mitch Greig said the fo­rum was to en­cour­age mar­riage equal­ity sup­port­ers not to ab­stain from the vot­ing process.

“I be­lieve that peo­ple are able to sup­port the change to the leg­is­la­tion re­gard­less of whether they agree with it or not,” he said.

“If they think it’s the right thing to do, but don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with it, I think that’s a re­ally im­por­tant mes­sage to get across.”

Mr Greig said the fo­rum was an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal com­mu­nity mem­bers to ask ques­tions, hear from ser­vice providers and find out what you can to do sup­port the lo­cal cam­paign.

The ques­tion on the bal­lot pa­per will read, ‘Do you sup­port a change in the law to al­low same sex mar­riage?’ and Trent Sel­lars said the word­ing of the ques­tion was ex­plicit and im­por­tant.

“It’s not ask­ing the pop­u­la­tion of Aus­tralia if it’s morally right or eth­i­cal for gay peo­ple to get mar­ried, it’s ask­ing whether or not peo­ple sup­port a change in the law.”

Rain­bow La­bor Qld sec­re­tary Joel Richters said opinion polls showed the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians wanted mar­riage equal­ity.

“Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Galaxy opinion poll, about 75% of Aus­tralia said they would vote for mar­riage equal­ity.”

Mr Richters said sup­port­ers of mar­riage equal­ity were cam­paign­ing hard for a strong yes vote.

“The de­bate is hav­ing a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the men­tal health of some mem­bers of the LGBTI com­mu­nity.

“The job of the Yes Cam­paign is aimed at get­ting through this process as hu­manely as pos­si­ble,” Mr Richters said.

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PHOTO: MAR­GUERITE CUD­DIHY

NA­TIONAL POLL: Mar­riage equal­ity sup­port­ers gath­ered for a fo­rum to dis­cuss the postal sur­vey on Wed­nes­day night.

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