“We asked them for their opinion and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming. It is our job now to get on with it … It is fair. The people have voted yes for marriage equality. Now it is our job to deliver it” – PM Malcolm Turnball
Yesterday was an important day in Australian history: the 15th November 2017, the day the results of a postal survey asking if we supported equal marriage rights were announced. For many of my friends and acquaintances yesterday was an emotional day as it affected their lives personally – either in their LGBTIQ identity or as an allied family member or friend.
I noticed numerous rainbows posted in various social media accounts yesterday.: people were determined to make it a positive day even if the results had been a resounding NO, and I am so grateful and happy that a clear majority of Australians said YES, believing it is time to bring social justice to a group of people who have been denied the right to marry those they love dearly. Yesterday was a celebration and a relief for many people, who have been sickened and distressed by the surge in homophobia in Australian society as the No campaign got underway.
The No campaign focus has been on the perceived consequences of same-sex marriage: loss of religious freedom, loss of right to free speech; the denial of children’s human rights to having heterosexual parents, and exposure to ideas about gender diversity, intersex and sexual diversity taught in schools. The campaign has fuelled homophobic pamphlets and comments on social media, attacks on property and assault against the LGBTIQA communities around Australia. See news reports below.
Yet this welcome result wasn’t for a referendum, but a postal survey, so the results don’t guarantee that the will of the majority will be enacted in Parliament. The issue now is getting legislation introduced and passed through Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament by Christmas 2017, as our Prime Minister pledged. I expect that there will still be times that will be painful, but I’m certain that my beloved friends and acquaintances will get to marry the people they love.