SAME-SEX marriage should be a basic human right. It’s baffling, therefore, that a decision by our country’s leaders this week – yes, in 2017 – means not only is that basic right being drawn out again, but the fight to gain that basic right could descend into hate campaigns that welfare groups fear could severely impact the wellbeing of the LGBTI community.
The pages of this newspaper have, for years, included stories on homosexual couples fighting for the right to have their loving relationship officially recognised. The pages of this newspaper have also included countless letters – the majority against same-sex marriage – that have unfortunately entered into disrespectful and hateful arguments.
We respect people’s opinions. But we do not, and will not, support discrimination and hate in our community.
Many countries are ahead of us in granting the LGBTI community the basic right of marriage.
MP Maurice Williamson, famously, said it well during a debate in New Zealand Parliament in 2013:
“All we are doing with this Bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage – that is is all we are doing,” he said. “I understand why people don’t like that it is that others do – that’s fine, we’re all in that category.
“But I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill … The sun will still rise tomorrow, your teenaged daughter will still argue back with you as if she knows everything, your mortgage will not grow, you will not have skin diseases or rashes or toads in your bed – the world will just carry on.
“This is fantastic for the people it affects – but for the rest of us, live will go on.”
Unlike a federal election, Australians won’t be forced to vote on the issue, meaning there’s a risk those who don’t feel strongly one way or the other won’t participate in the ballot.
While we could argue about why this matter shouldn’t be going to a postal vote, the facts are that it will – and now we need to ensure as many people as possible to take part to ensure we get an accurate reflection of what society wants.
Just 58 per cent of those eligible took part in the most recent election in the US, where voting isn’t compulsory – and we all know how that turned out.
Make sure you vote. It’s time our LGBTI community had the same basic rights as everyone else – that’s all they ask.
Jessica Grimble, editor