UPDATE 12:00pm: What do you think should be the next step?
UPDATE 11:53am: The Wannon and Mallee electorate votes compared to the rest of Victoria and Australia.
UPDATE 11:05am: How all the Australian states and territories voted
UPDATE 11:00am: Wimmera Pride Project co-founders Maddi Ostapiw and Loucas Vettos are appreciative and proud of the 54.3 per cent of people who voted yes in the Mallee.
UPDATE 10.33am: Member for Mallee Andrew Broad has issued a statement about the marriage equality survey:
“A large number of Australians participated in the postal survey regarding changes to the Marriage Act. There will be some Australians who are pleased with the result and some who will be displeased.
I have been impressed by the decent manner in which the people of the Wimmera, Mallee and Mildura have conducted themselves.
The result gives direction to the Australian Parliament.
It will now require the wisdom of Members of Parliament to work through the legislation to ensure there is balance between honouring the result and ensuring freedoms are available and maintained.”
UPDATE 10.15am: Both Mallee and Wannon electorates have voted in favour of marriage equality.
In Mallee, 42,495 voters – 54.3 per cent – voted to support same-sex marriage, while 49,340 of Wannon voters – 61 per cent – voted yes.
More than 78,000 people voted in Mallee overall, representing 78.8 per cent of the electorate.
More than 81,000 people voted in Wannon – 81.4 per cent of the electorate.
UPDATE 10.10am: Every state and territory has recorded a yes vote.
UPDATE 10.04am: The postal vote has returned a “yes” result for same-sex marriage.
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.
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.
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.
Katelyn Tepper said there was too much hatred in the world and we need more love. She said her brother was gay and he should have the same rights as she does.
Norma Plunkett said she received the postal survey, but she was undecided as to how she would vote. She said she wants to read more about the issue before deciding, which way she wanted to vote.
Horsham’s headspace centre has reminded young people that its support services are available to those who are experiencing challenges in their lives.
Support was available from Monday to Friday; people can go to headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/horsham/ or call the centre on 5381 1543 to make an appointment.
Wimmera councils remain neutral in their stance on same-sex marriage, believing the issue is outside of local government control.
The region’s churches’ stance on same-sex marriage remains behind the word of God as a union between one man and one woman.
The Lutheran Church of Australia Bishop Reverend John Henderson said the church did not seek to force its own views on the rest of society should it want to think differently.
Uniting Church president Stuart McMillian said the church’s definition of marriage was between a man and a woman. However, he said the church was committed to being an inclusive church that embraced LGBTIQ people.
Wimmera Pride Project co-founder Maddi Ostapiw said the family friendly picnic was a chance to show support for the people who were being negatively impacted by the Australian marriage equality survey.
“There has been a constant debate in the media, which has been a burden on us and has been affecting our mental health. So we decided a small community event for the LGBTIQ people would be beneficial,” she said.