Sunday, 20 August 2017

Thursday is the last day to enrol to vote: make sure you are enrolled!

Make sure that you enrol to vote before the cut off on Thursday. There may be many distractions about what the vote stands for. Opponents of voting yes have engaged in a game of smoke and mirrors to try and persuade voters that the vote is anything other than what it is.

You may think that the vote is a sure thing and that the yes vote will win. Don't make that mistake. EVERY vote counts. Voting is by post and is not compulsory- which means that there is a much higher chance of the no vote winning. 

The vote is really simple: a vote whether you agree that the Marriage Act should no longer discriminate. A vote for equality.

It's not about God nor religion. Individual ministers will decide, as they have always decided, whether they will officiate at a wedding of a couple.

It's not about kids- except that as marriages are the fundamental units of our society, having more couples being married will likely result in better outcomes for kids.

It's simply about whether our society believes that we, as citizens,  are all equal and are therefore entitled to equal laws. If the fundamental truth of Jefferson's words are accepted, then the only answer is to vote yes: "All men are created equal."

My husband and Mitchell married in Vegas in 2015. We were married by a minister. We married before God, in front of ten American friends, and 250 friends and family in four countries who viewed our wedding live online. Our marriage was solemnised in accordance with Nevada and US law.

The only problem is that our marriage is not recognised in our own country. While we are recognised by loved ones- friends and family- as having been married- the law in Australia means that we are unmarried. The reason for this is that John Howard pushed through amendments to the Marriage Act in 2004 which meant for the first time that marriage was defined as being between a man and a woman, but also that foreign marriages that were not between a man and a woman were not recognised.

It is because of these changes that we have debated the need to amend the Marriage Act, and as a result, have ended up with the postal survey.

There are many couples like us. According to the latest census data, there are at least 100,000 gay and lesbians in couples relationships in Australia. Shouldn't these couples have the right to choose whether they want to be married or not- like everyone else?

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