MEMBERS from the Wimmera’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community believe the Australian marriage law survey has allowed people to debate their right for equality.
Former Rainbow resident Tom Dryburgh, who identified as gay, said the government created a debate as to whether the LGBTIQ community should be treated equally.
“Equality isn’t an opinion that we should be sitting down and debating, but that’s not the case and we have to vote on whether we are all equal as people,” he said.
The survey asks ‘should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’
Mr Dryburgh said for the queer community it read ‘are gay people, people?’ and ‘are we the same as everyone else?’
“People need to remember that we aren’t just some fictitious thing spoken about in the media, we are out there and alive like everybody else,” he said.
Mr Dryburgh said support for same-sex marriage went beyond personal opinion and religious belief.
“There will always be an issue with homosexuality but that should have no bearing on the law of the land,” he said.
If the survey receives a ‘yes’ majority, the law will be put to parliament for a vote, however, a change is not guaranteed.
“It highlights the idiotic nature of the entire vote, we spend all this money and it’s not binding,” Mr Dryburgh said.
“I think a ‘no’ vote winning the campaign would have a level of psychological damage that we cannot fully interpret the scale right now because the vote is already hurting people.”
Horsham’s Lily Dalton, who identified as bisexual and non-binary, said there was a definite resurgence of gay slurs and had caused many people to feel in danger and hopeless.
“If the vote doesn’t pass my friends have said they don’t know how they are going to survive through it and those feelings never really needed to happen,” Lily said.
Lily said the survey was a horrible idea that could have easily been passed through parliament.
“Instead they have taken it to the public and given voices to people who are saying horrible and damaging things to people.”
Lily said legalising same-sex marriage would not affect the lives of people against the issue.
”I think its going to happen eventually, so why not be on the right side of history,” Lily said.
Goroke’s Wanda Jackson, a transgender woman, said people did not understand that the survey was not about marriage, but marriage equality.
“They focus on the marriage part, but we should focus more on the equality,” she said.