Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Australia's Same-Sex Marriage Vote - 5 Things You Need To Know!

It's August 22nd 2017 and as of today equal marriage is not a thing in Australia.

It's kinda shocking that the country that hosts the amazing Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is still so behind the times.

Laura is half Australian, our best friend Kate is Australian and we lived in Australia for a year so we know a fair bit about Oz culture. We know that Sydney is by the far the most progressive city in the country but that all of the main cities are not openly homophobic. We know that many Australian's have views we would deem a little out of touch but we also know that the overwhelming majority of Aussie's are amazing, open-minded individuals who see the country's stand on Same-Sex marriage as an embarrassment.

I mean if we are being honest Australia's political leaders have been a conveyor belt of idiots since we lived there in 2010. I mean they are no Trump but seriously this guy got the Prime Minister vote!
So sorry to share something so disgusting

So anyway here are the 5 key things you need to know about the vote:

  1. The postal vote requires you to enrol before August the 24th! Click here to enrol (if you're in Oz). You will need evidence of your identity with a drivers licence or Australian passport number. You must be an Australian citizen, over 18 and have lived at your address for over a month. Forms will be sent out after the 12th of September and MUST be posted back by October 27th to ensure they arrived to be counted. Results will be released on November 15th.
  2. The vote has NO binding, meaning that parliament do not have to act on the results. If anything this is a move by the current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball to save his neck as the coalition government he oversees is divided on the issue.
  3. The vote may not take place! Two challenges have been raised to the high court by the 'Australian Marriage Equality senator Janet Rice' and the 'Public Interest Advocacy Centre.' The cases will be heard on the 5th and 6th of September. The main argument is that  the government doesn't have the right to spend AU$122 million on a ballot not approved by parliament.
  4. If parliament were to vote on Equal Marriage now, the consensus is that the majority would vote to legalise same-sex marriage. The hope is that enough people will enter the postal vote that the actual feelings of the country will be represented, forcing a parliament vote. Below are screenshots from a video on news.com.au that shows where the country is on their view of Same-Sex marriage.

5. LGBT individuals are not 100% behind the postal vote. That's not as shocking as you might think. For a start this postal vote, at it's very core, is asking Australians to vote on whether certain people can get married. Imagine (if you are married) asking your social group if they approved of you getting married. The idea is awful! Secondly by allowing a public vote you are inviting the homophones and bigots to have their say. Of course they are ready with their banners and hatred to protest the marriage is '1 man and 1 women' rhetoric that is so old. Thirdly LGBT campaigners believe the vote is open to fraud and as it isn't controlled by parliament. 
I was first aware of the feelings of LGBT individuals when I read this post on Gaybymama: here but the longer the process goes on the more posts I see on the subject. This video shares further examples:

As the world watches on I hope the vote does echo the fact that the majority of the country support Same-Sex marriage. I know for a fact that our friends, straight and gay, living in Australia will be voting. Making their voice heard and hoping that Australia becomes the 9th country, on the UN's most developed country list (of 11 countries), to announce Same-Sex marriage is legal. 

We loved our third (illegal) wedding in Australia and we hope everyone is given the chance to celebrate love in the same way. Even if this vote holds no legal status, if an overwhelming percentage is for Same-Sex marriage it can only highlight the need for parliament to vote and make this civil right an equal right for all. Love is love.

Details are here: Our third wedding and video can be seen on YouTube here.

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