On Saturday, 16th September, I took a stroll into town and was greeted by a rainbow of colour, cheer, music, and celebration, as thousands took to Parliament House in support of Marriage Equality. It was wonderful seeing people come out to support their fellow humans and take positive action during what has become an often-problematic time.
When people of the 'No' camp turned up across the street, with their own banners and loud speakers busting out sermons, they were drowned out by music, dance, and joy. A perfect way to dissolve the would-be antagonisers.
I was able to have a chat with a couple of people on the day. Leticia, of the Queer Amnesty International Adelaide Action Group told me that, while her group had no direct involvement with the rally, “everything counts. We’ve come together to glitter up and tell the world that we want (marriage equality) to happen now. We, as the Amnesty Crew, rock up with the rainbow and we want as many people here as possible because the marriage equality campaign means so much.”
I asked Leticia what she would want to say to people considering their vote. “If you are going to vote no, think about those people in your life that may not be out to you. Because people don’t realise that we are a great number, just not everybody is out. Not everybody feels comfortable to come out and proud. It’s a hard conversation to have. We just want to make sure that they know, even if they’re not out, they’re still loved and we want them to feel supported. If you’re thinking yes, good on you, make sure you vote, because every single vote counts. Complacency is the only way we will lose this. We’re not focusing on convincing people, we’re just focusing on making sure people do put the vote in the mail. Make sure you vote and make sure you turn out to events such as today, to make sure that the queer community knows that you support them.”
James, a health professional from Morphetville, had this to say on the marriage survey, “I personally disagree with the fact this survey has been forced upon us, in what seems like a cruel stalling tactic used by a weak government to delay law reform, and appease the opponents of equality. However, since it is going ahead I wholeheartedly hope that the Australian voters will say YES, and steer our lawmakers to do what they should already have done long ago - remove discrimination from Australia secular law.”
“To anyone considering a 'No' vote, I would say please don't misuse your democratic right to harm other Australians. A vote against equality is more dangerous than you might think...maybe next time it'll be YOUR dignity and YOUR rights that are thrown down to the mercy of strangers, to impose their opinions onto your loved ones and your family. Think hard about what you are doing if you vote against something that means a lot to the people it affects, but doesn't really impact you. Why kick them when they're already down? Voting 'No', is therefore inherently unAustralian. I hope we are better than that.”
And to those who will vote 'Yes', James said, “thank you. Remain strong and have courage.”