The emphatic Yes vote in Gilmore proved what many of us already knew: the majority of people support marriage equality. In fact, support for reform was slightly higher in this electorate than across the nation.
We are pleased with the result, pleased so many people engaged in the postal survey and pleased Ann Sudmalis has pledged to honour the electorate’s wishes and vote Yes on the floor of parliament.
We are pleased that in the main the local discussion was respectful. Yes, there were a couple of exceptions but on the whole the haters were silenced by the weight of community support for change.
Australia prides itself on the notion of a fair go. The move to extend the right of everyone to solemnise and celebrate their relationship irrespective of gender or sexual preference is all about being fair.
The national response was an emphatic endorsement of equality, tolerance and acceptance.
The survey result also reflects a coming of age for our nation. Extending marriage rights to the LGBTQI community would have been unthinkable a couple of decades ago. Back then, homophobia was entrenched. People kept their sexuality hidden, fearful of ridicule, social isolation and even violence.
The explosion of joy we saw last Wednesday when the result of the postal survey was announced, showed how far we have come. But the result should have surprised no one.
Numerous opinion polls before the postal survey showed most Australians were in favour of marriage equality.
We need not have subjected to national judgment the relationships of the gays and lesbians who are part of our community.
We need not have caused the anguish and distress that saw members of the LGBTQI community seeking help from counselling services.
We need not have spent $100 million, which could have been put to better use. But we did and now it’s time to move forward.
We look forward to the Yes vote becoming law. We look forward to the extra business that will flow into the South Coast as more couples visit to tie the knot in our beautiful surroundings. We look forward to the issue being put behind us so other important national problems can be addressed.
Most important, we look forward to the day a person’s sexual orientation is simply not an issue, when everyone is accepted for who they are.