marriage equality

The history of the 13-year campaign for marriage equality in Australia is an incredible underdog story, but you would not know that if you got your news from the mainstream media.

Throughout the period of the postal survey, the implication has been that marriage equality activists are powerful bullies stomping around the political playground and kicking over the sandcastles of defenseless No campaigners, such as the Australian Christian Lobby (the tax-exempt lobby group that receives millions of dollars each year in corporate funding).

The scenes are horrendous. Defenceless people, who are desperately seeking protection, find themselves at the mercy of authoritarian bullies. All they seek is safety.

And yet the totalitarian Yes voters are deaf to their pleas, as No voters, seeking nothing more than the right to institutionalised bigotry, suffer in silence with only huge swathes of the government and the Murdoch press daring to raise their voices on their behalf.

A pin could have been heard dropping in Sydney’s Prince Alfred Park in the moments before the result of the postal vote on marriage equality was announced on the morning of November 15.

Lovers stood with their faces pressed into each other’s chests, whitened knuckles held shaking hands, friends stood shoulder-to-shoulder and rainbow families held each other in tight embraces. Even the blustering wind that had dishevelled our stall all morning seemed to have been holding its breath. All was silent as we braced for the result.

It is disappointing to see our postal survey victory marred by racism from No and Yes campaigners alike, as they descend on Western Sydney, which turned out 12 of the 17 highest No voting electorates in the country.

But not only is the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant dog-whistling that shapes this assault on people who live in the west more or less overtly racist, it is also a poor analysis of what went wrong in the west.

Thousands of people gathered around Australia on November 15 to hear the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

While the survey delivered the result that was hoped for by these crowds, there has been a growing awareness that a majority Yes response in the survey does not necessarily deliver an easy pathway to the legislation that would deliver marriage equality. Instead, a new battle is looming, to win not just the legislation that a clear majority of Australians support, but to defend anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI people.

Sydney celebrates the result of the postal survey for marriage equality: 62% of participants voted yes, from a turnout of 13 million voters, nearly 80%.

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