To be honest, I hope this is the last time I write about this. The announcement that 61.6% of people who participated in the Marriage Postal Survey said ‘Yes’ include same – sex couples in the Marriage Act.
the result was better than what I thought it might have been. I was fearing it’d been much closer to 50/50, or, frankly, a slight loss for the ‘Yes’ vote.
Some say that this was a ‘a vote of love’ toward the Australian LGBTQ+ community. I believe there is an element of truth to that, to be honest. This vote did prove that many people are willing to see LGBTQ+ people as equal and worthy of love as heterosexual people. I hope that this does signal a future where LGBTQ+ people don’t have to have any fear about coming out, or being seen with their partner/ spouse out in public.
However, and this is a big however, it DOES NOT mean that it was a painless process or that all wounds have been healed. As I wrote in the past, a number of counselling services across the country had seen a spike in the number of calls by LGBTQ+ people who were distressed during the vote. For some, it brought back bad memories and insecurities. The result announced on Wednesday may have relieved some of that, but for other LGBTQ+ people, healing will take a lot longer.
The fact that over seven million voted ‘yes’ may do little to help LGBTQ+ people who have felt betrayed by family members who voted ‘no’ and/ or don’t accept for who thwy are. The process may have poured salt into those wounds that, frankly, may never heal.
I think the debate around around ‘religious exemptions’ and ‘conscientious objections’ have been another hurdle that may also trigger negative memories and feelings from members of the LGBTQ+ community because the validity and value of LGBTQ+ people has been up for debate. Again. To many, they still don’t feel equal. What LGBTQ+ rights will clash with conservatives and lose out? Exemptions for religious leaders and celebrants were always goibg to happen, and are fine. Extensions to florists, bakers, etc, however concern me (although James Patterson’s Bill has been dropped and Patterson is willing to debate and work to ammend the Dean Smith Bill. Let’s hope the Bill doesn’t end up opening Pandora’s box and allow other discrimination; against children with LGBTQ+ parents, for instance.
The last few days have brought a lot of people joy. Many may have found solace in the huge ‘yes’ response and that may have been enough to heal any hurt, fears and doubts. But it’s also true that, for a number of LGBTQ+ people, familial and friend rejection and the pain it’s caused will override the ‘national cuddle’. Because if you don’t feel accepted by the people you love the most, over seven million ‘hugs’ from strangers will seem hollow.
How did you find the Australian Marriage postal survey and the debate?