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  • Crispin Till

    Email Crispin Till

    Fears grow ahead of start of marriage equality postal survey


    It’s a simple question: Do you support a change in the law to allow same-sex couples to marry?

    And Australia will now have its say with voting slips as part of the Federal Government’s postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage to be mailed out from September 12 after the High Court yesterday dismissed two challenges on the validity of the vote.

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics will send out the survey to all registered voters and people are “strongly encouraged” to return their forms by October 27 to ensure their response is processed in time.



    With the result set to be declared by November 15, a major concern is what effect the debate for and against same-sex marriage will have on the community, with Lisa Golding from the Cairns LGBTI Alliance saying everyone should have their say.

    “The Cairns LGBTI Alliance is very concerned that two months of public campaigning will leave a lot of young people, including those with same-sex parents, facing a lot of nasty and false information,” she said.

    “The question is very simple and that’s what we need to focus on.

    “We are very concerned at the level of false information out there and we have already seen it in ads for the ‘No’ vote.”

    RESULT NON-BINDING

    The result of the "messy" and "protracted" campaign is not binding for our federal politicians with Ms Golding saying even if the community overwhelming indicates it wants marriage laws changed it may not happen.

    “There is no sensible reason we are jumping through all these hoops,” she said.

    “We have had years’ worth of legitimate and valid opinion polling that 70 per cent of Australians support marriage equality.

    “This is a very expensive exercise and still leaves a lot of wriggle room and arguing about marriage equality.

    “It is the dishonesty that is the most disappointing. The politicians are obfuscating, postponing and refusing to make decisions and it is dishonest and cowardly.

    “I am extremely disappointed in Malcolm Turnbull, who supports same-sex marriage, but has chosen this path to shore up support in his own party.

    “The fact the Government has chosen this path and opened people up to misinformation and potentially nasty and hurtful attacks is also hugely disappointing.

    “The people who have suggested this idea have done so for a reason, and that is so they can keep postponing things until the population gets so sick of it and refuse to fight any more.”

    LOVE IS LOVE

    While Ms Golding and her partner held a public commitment ceremony in front of family and friends in 2000, at the heart of the issue is their relationship being recognised and protected under law.

    “We have gone through all the same things that other couples have gone through in nearly 20 years,” she said.

    “I would like my relationship to be recognised as valid and I would like the choice to get married.”

    SUPPORT ON HAND

    The focus for the Cairns LGBTI Alliance in the coming months is to make sure everyone has their say on same-sex marriage, including people who do not support the change as the survey is not compulsory.

    “Obviously we want the result to be a ‘Yes’. But people have the right to believe that the marriage laws should not be extended to same-sex couples,” she said.

    “We know what the statistics say and we want everyone to get their form in the mailbox. We will be doing as many thing as we can to encourage people to vote.”

    Ms Golding said it was also important that anyone who needed support or assistance during the campaign sought out help if they were struggling to cope with the Alliance on hand to do what it could or ready to point people to services through Queensland Health or the Queensland AIDS Network.