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To all the ‘no’ voters: I am not your enemy

Megan Shellie 4 October 2017 Marriage Equality

After grand finals weekend there will have been a lot of gay people returning from visits home after watching the big matches. Many of them will be feeling pretty bruised, maybe because their team lost, or maybe because they discovered a family member was a “no” voter.

The government’s same-sex marriage survey has driven a wedge through numerous families around the country, but it’s important to remember that there are two types of “no” voters in this campaign, those who are homophobic, and those who have genuine concerns. The homophobic voters are the easiest ones to spot, they use language like “faggots” and the idea of two men kissing makes them feel weird. These people believe homosexuality is something best cured or ignored.

I think it’s a shame that the “no” campaign has to share a voice with these prejudiced individuals. On the other side of the “no” campaign are the ones concerned about what they see as changes in their community, trends and patterns in a changing world. Legitimate fears that the “no” campaign has cleverly conflated, with slippery slope arguments about “radical gay sex education”.

Let’s have those conversations, but let’s have them in way that doesn’t play on fears, lies and prejudice. I want to marry my girlfriend, I want kids to know being different is OK and I want parents to have the choice about how their kids are educated. Three very different topics, two of which our country needs to save for another day.

Same-sex marriage is about changing the law to allow two adults to make a choice that most people already have and to make all families equal under the law. To the “no” voters with concerns I say, you and me, we’re not so different. We want stronger communities, family values, choice and freedom of expression. I am not your enemy. You should seek to challenge those people who threaten choice, who threaten pluralism by trying to make us all the same, and you should take a mirror to your own side of the debate before casting stones at ours.

Instead, cast your ballot, and think about the issues at the core of this debate. Two consenting adults who love each other. Two people who can’t change the way they are, and two people asking to be accepted by one another and by the rest of community. It’s that simple. Vote yes, and vote now, because if you truly don’t have a problem with gay people, then you shouldn’t have a problem with them getting married.

Why not?

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