Yesterday we received the news that the majority of people who took part in the survey on marriage equality voted to change the law to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Like many of you, I am overjoyed about this result. While the result of the survey is non-binding and it is now in the hands of the government, we have moved a step closer to the moment when our friends in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) communities will have the right to marry the person they love.
Over the duration of the survey, we’ve seen many examples of the strong public support for LGBTI communities and equality. This has taken the form of marches, flags, murals, social media campaigns, phone bank campaigns for voter turnout, and numerous opinion pieces. You only have to look at the rainbow signs on the desks throughout SSI offices to see this support in practice.
Unfortunately, the extensive and unpleasant debate on this issue has also empowered people who would deny their neighbours the right to marry, without discrimination, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Worse still, it has given a public platform to people who represent the extreme exclusivist and intolerant fringes of our society.
The period from the start of the survey to the announcement of the result has been a stressful and anxious time for many members of our community. If you or someone you know needs support, call QLife on 1800 184 527, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
There is much healing to be done — and also much celebrating.
In delivering this historic vote, Australians have sent a strong message and affirmed their support for a diverse Australia that values equality and human rights.