Australian Marriage Vote

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Australian Marriage Vote

 

‘It was an obscene waste of taxpayer money in that the vote reflected what’s been said time and time again in opinion polls over the last decade. It caused great hurt to LGBTIQ families and individuals as the ‘No’ campaign made disgusting and disgraceful allegations that marriage equality would lead to hostility and other perverted sex acts. I am thrilled it came back ‘Yes’ because it validates our relationships and is the right step forward for equality, tolerance and love.’

 

This is a quote from an Australian friend of mine who lives in Sydney, a progressive and open minded city. I asked for her opinion, as an Australian affected by this vote, to tell me her thoughts on the issue. This quote alone sums up the immensity of the topic, as well as highlighting how far we still have to go.

 

For its size, Australia has a relatively small population of around 24 million people, with around 12 million people registered to vote. The vote sparked an immense response from the Australian people, with an 80% turnout for a voluntary postal vote. While of course the 60% yes vote is an amazing step forward – as well as a surprising result for the Australian people – the fact remains that of those who voted, 40% said no.

 

Consider for a moment being in a heterosexual relationship and wanting to declare your love and commitment to the world through marriage, but you have to ask permission from millions of strangers before you can. Is that right? Absolutely not. So why should it be different for anyone else?

 

The fact that to this day same-sex marriage needs to be legalised is beyond ridiculous. The need for your relationship to be validated by millions of people across the country who will never be affected by the outcome is heart-breaking, and the fact that it has still not been passed by the senate is painstaking.

 

But as usual, it’s all about the politics. It doesn’t seem to matter what impact this will have on the lives of so many people, as long as the politicians tiptoe carefully enough around their financial backers. The current liberal government receives huge support both publicly and privately from very conservative backers. In order to remain somewhat neutral, the decision was made to carry out the postal vote, which many people feel was a wasteful use of $122 million in resources as it could have been put to the senate without a vote.

 

However, if the bill does not pass in the senate, there will be a massive public backlash against both the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and his party, meaning it would be unlikely for them to remain in power after the next election.

 

This is, however, still a somewhat revolutionary event as there has never been, in most people’s lifetime, a voluntary postal vote with regard to changing federal law. And in the end, the outcome is a massive win for the ‘Yes’ campaign.

 

But the vote also triggered an attack on the LGBT+ community.

 

The ‘No’ campaign continues to discriminate and fight to deny millions of people what should already be their right, claiming that they will continue to oppose the outcome for years if they have to. Why waste such time, energy, and resources trying to prevent people having something which causes no harm. What do they see in gay marriage which is so sinister? Love and the expression of love should be celebrated, and it’s something we can never have enough of in the world. Our sexual identity and orientation is highly personal, yet it is being laid bare to the world for discussion in order to decide whether or not we should be permitted this expression of love. It’s all completely backwards.

 

Yes, we are all entitled to our beliefs and opinions, but we do not have the right to impose these upon others, especially when in situations like this.

 

Everyone should be free to marry the person they want to spend their life with, regardless of sexual orientation, because at the end of the day we are all only human and we are all unique. Giving people the power to discriminate and launch an attack upon others for who they want to be with is inhuman, and causes so much harm to people who are needlessly labelled as ‘different’. We all bleed red, and in a world full of so much culture and diversity, we should use this power to fight for things which will really make a difference to this world, and let love simply be love.

 

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