TODAY I woke up an equal citizen.
It’s rare that the pages of the Wimmera Mail-Times will quote Magda Szubanski.
But the actress’ simply worded post to Twitter the morning after federal politicians voted to deliver same-sex marriage into law powerfully summed up the meaning of the debate that has consumed many Australians in recent months.
Szubanski is likeable, relatable and famously funny.
She’s a fierce marriage equality advocate – and a member of the LGBTIQ community.
Her poignant Tweet on Friday was just one element of her impassioned, honest messages throughout the campaign for marriage equality.
Those seven words shed light on what the whole debacle of the same-sex marriage postal survey was all about. This was about giving people equal rights.
The survey opened the floodgates for people to publically comment on a simple, basic right that is afforded to every heterosexual person in Australia. It’s a right we don’t think twice about – and one we can chose to utilise when and how we see fit, on our own terms.
We could argue about why this matter shouldn’t have gone to a postal vote – but the fact is, it did. And the process brought out the absolute worst in many people from both sides of the debate.
In fact, we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemy the content of some of the letters, phone calls and comments shared with this masthead. Much of this content was of such an abhorrent nature or contained such misinformation that it did not, and will not, ever see the light of day in this publication. Disturbingly, this was only the tip of a national iceberg of commentary.
It’s a fact that more than 54 per cent of people living in the Mallee electorate supported a change to the laws. In the neighbouring Wannon electorate, nearly two-thirds of respondents want our LGBTIQ community to marry those they love.
This was among a national result of 62 per cent of respondents returning a ‘yes’ vote.
For most people in our community, the changes to the marriage law won’t mean much. It’s not their lives we’re talking about.
For our LGBTIQ community, this change tells them they are seen as equal as anyone else in the eyes of the law.
It’s been complicated – but it really is as simple as that.
Jessica Grimble, editor