Marriage, Macklemore and inequality in Australia

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Kevin Rudd's godson, Sean Foster, bashed in Brisbane by a man tearing down rainbow signs and screaming profanities (Image via @MrKRudd)

A quick trip through the inglorious history of marriage, inequity and angry inequality campaigners in Australia, by Kelly Jenke.

$122 MILLION! That is how much the Government has cost the Australian taxpayer for the same-sex postal survey. A vote that, in the end, may not change anything anyway, regardless of what we, the People, have voted for. Instead, all it does is give the green light for the LNP to have a conscience vote. Ridiculous and I agree, get angry. What an absolute waste of money that could’ve just been passed in parliament.

"Yes"or "No" is the hottest topic right now and is all over every type of media. It even made headlines in the New Yorker.

Most of you are one-eyed either way when it comes to voting "Yes" or "No", but if you haven’t posted your survey yet (and I urge you to do so ASAP, as every vote is going to count) I ask for a moment of your time to take a brief look back at marriage equality in Australia.

In the New South Wales colony back in the convict-era, most were married by banns and always had to obtain permission to marry by the Governor.

It wasn’t until 10 June 1884, that Victoria became the first state to allow married women the right to own property and back in the 20th Century women had to fight extremely hard for the right to choose who they would marry.

On 16 November 1942, Tasmania passed a law to raise the age in which a woman can marry from 12 to 16 (yes, 12 you did read that right) and for men from 14 to 18 — other states soon followed.

Let’s not forget what the Australian Government did right up until the 1970’s, especially to interracial married couples. They stole their children and now we have a whole population damaged — the Stolen Generations.

So, you’d have thought we have come a long way in marriage equality right? 13 August 2004, the Senate passed John Howard’s Government's amendment to the Marriage Act by banning same-sex marriage. A new millennium — you would think that a Government would move forwards not backwards, but not in Australia.

Let’s now fast forward to 2017. On 6 September, the High Court ruled that the Turnbull Government’s same sex marriage survey would go ahead but not be compulsory to all that are enrolled to vote in Australia.

Although not what the LGBTI wanted, the community planned to make the most of the little they had and rallies attracting thousands upon thousands of "Yes" supporters came together in one hell of a show of solidarity. Over 600,000 people have been contacted by phone and many more by door knocking. People are coming together in doing all this, reaching out to whoever will listen for one reason. Equality and the right to choose to marry the person they love. Heterosexual couples take their given right to this for granted, so how can it possibly be fair to deny another the same right?

Even Malcom Turnbull himself finally grew a pair and told all of Australia he voted yes. Conservatives Christopher Pyne and Greg Hunt are backing the "Yes" campaign. There’s been high profile athletes saying "Yes" and Hollywood stars also. This is a time to rejoice. To cast your vote and let Australia become like the 21 other countries that have legalised marriage equality instead of lagging behind, like we have been for centuries and especially since 2004, or when 12 year olds could marry.

Unfortunately, what should be a time where people come together for equal rights has also shown its very ugly side. There has been great division over this debate and the "No" campaign, which is outspending the "Yes" campaign is starting to gain ground. The head of the naysayers, Tony "Onion-Breath" Abbott, has alleged he was headbutted by a person wearing a "Yes" badge and that he obtained a fat lip from. The funny thing here is, he didn’t report it to police — Abbott instead contacted his best friend Andrew Bolt. The police had to contact Mr Abbott themselves. The alleged headbutter, Astro Labe, 38, claims he Liverpool kissed him because he could and it had nothing to do with marriage equality. Now Mr Abbott is carrying on about American rapper Macklemore playing his pro-same sex song called 'Same Love' at the NRL grand final. Even Attorney-General George Brandis finds Abbott’s call for the ban of the rapper and song absurd. Luckily not all Abbott’s fall from the same tree, with the former PM’s daughter Frances Abbott jumping her father’s conservative ship to standing up for marriage equality by joining to help the "Yes" campaign.

The hate has continued, when former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s godson was assaulted by a man raving profanities as he was tearing down rainbow flags.

There have also been reports of a 16-year-old transgender person being bashedsuicide outside the ACL, Nazi symbols being painted in train carriages and post boxes, and houses displaying rainbows trashed. The division and hate is astounding, if not heartbreaking.

People have also had their world’s shattered (sarcasm) by a simple text message from the "Yes" campaigners, with people getting on the bandwagon on social media expressing their disgust. Let’s just clarify one thing here. It is completely legal and computer generated — no one’s privacy has been intruded upon and it is just a text, seriously people, and come on!

This survey has hurt a lot of people, with a 20 per cent spike in LGBTI people accessing support services because they aren’t coping. Let’s show this inept Government we won’t put up with it dividing people in such an ugly manner ever again. Voting "Yes" isn’t a political issue — it is a human rights issue.

I personally call on Mr Turnbull to do the right thing and stop this survey now before more people die or get hurt.

If you haven’t received your survey yet or it has gone missing, you have up until 20 October to request a new one.

27 October is the last day to post your survey in and even though the younger generation support marriage equality en masse, they are the ones proving to be the least likely to go to the post box to deliver it.

The results of the survey will be announced on 15 November.

May equality prevail!

Sean Foster on social media after cleaning most of the blood off (Image via abc.net.au)

If you or anyone you know is being affected by this disgusting citizen dividing survey, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14

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