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Going postal

By Rebecca Vassarotti - 17 August 2017 26

Well, it looks like it’s going to happen and we are going to have ‘postal survey’ on the issue of marriage equality. Despite the concerns about the impact on many members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community, the non-binding nature of the vote, the cost and the myriad of technical and constitutional problems with this proposal, the Federal Government is pushing ahead to ‘let all Australians have their say’ on the issue of marriage equality.

This means that we now all get to have a say on whether or not we think we should continue to exclude a group in our community from one of the core social institutions that continues to provide meaning to our private lives, as well as affording and strengthening legal status and rights for all couples and families.

As we prepare for the postal survey, many of us are bracing for a campaign that we know will be damaging, and working through how we best support our friends, neighbours and families through a process where there will be many arguments made that are designed to hurt, offend and devalue who some people are and who they love.

This feels particularly galling in the ACT given we are a community that tried to settle the issue in the way it was meant to (through political debate and legislation) only to be thwarted by legal challenges and an inability for our community to settle the issue through the standard democratic process.

Given the issues, it is understanding that some have suggested boycotting the vote. Despite all the problems, however, there are some opportunities that this situation gives us. Most importantly, this is our chance to stand as a community and demonstrate our strong support for equality, love and kindness to the rest of the country. It’s our opportunity to stand in solidarity with all members of our community and say that we choose love over hate, that we choose inclusion and acceptance over discrimination, and we value families – in all their diversity.

We can only send this message if we do mobilise and support the yes campaign. We all need to make sure we are enrolled to vote, and actually vote. This is a vote that is voluntary and it’s vital that apathy and despair at the political process doesn’t scuttle this important reform.

The ACT has a history of being much more progressive than the rest of the country when it comes to referendums and plebiscites (since we have been able to vote in them – only since 1977). We were the only jurisdiction to have a majority vote in favour of the Republic in 1999, was the only place to support the enshrining of ‘one vote one value’ that was put to referendum in 1988. We even went our own way in relation to the 1977 plebiscite regarding our national song, supported Waltzing Matilda over Advance Australia Fair.

Even though I don’t agree we should be having this postal survey on marriage equality, I still think it’s important to participate in and hope that citizens in the ACT vote. What do you think?

If you or someone, within the LGBTIQ communities or allies, friends, and family, needs additional support there is help available through the AIDS Action Council counselling service – available to all the community – on 6257 2855 or through Qlife which is operational between 3pm until midnight, 7 days a week – qlife.org.au

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26 Responses to
Going postal
wildturkeycanoe 6:50 am 22 Aug 17

John Moulis said :

The debate has been going a week now and all I’ve seen from the No camp is a lot of ad hominem attacks on “f#gs” and “p@#fters”, nonsense such as “all gays are paedophiles” and quotes from the Old Testament which we heard 40 years ago during the debates about gay law reform.

You haven’t seen any attacks on “bigots”, “Christians” or any of those poor Maccas chewing, cigarette smoking drones you just referred to? You have just highlighted my point about how hypocritical the gay rights lobby is when it comes to violating human rights. How dare you dump everyone who opposes gay marriage into this stereotypical profile! Does everyone not have the right to not only have an opinion but to also vote the way they want without being labelled with such disdain?
If this debate were about logic rather than personal ideologies, I would counter your challenge for rationality by asking why should the LGBT community get something “just because hetero couples do”? Why can’t everyone use that argument to get free disability parking, free Commonwealth travel perks, subsidized private health care or any of a thousand preferential bonuses that apply to certain groups in the community?
If a majority vote in favour of something and it becomes law, we are all bound by it. If Sharia law were voted in to be the rule of this land for example, would you stay and submit to it or find a country that supports your own views? That is how government works, by appeasing the majority.
If the laws are changed in favor of gay marriage, then morally the Christians opposed would be obliged to submit to that authority and live with the outcome. So let the majority speak, without fear of persecution, to settle the debate once and for all. And, leave the church out of it, it is civil laws that need to be changed, not Christian traditions.

John Moulis 3:54 pm 21 Aug 17

The debate has been going a week now and all I’ve seen from the No camp is a lot of ad hominem attacks on “f#gs” and “p@#fters”, nonsense such as “all gays are paedophiles” and quotes from the Old Testament which we heard 40 years ago during the debates about gay law reform. We have even heard people saying they will be voting No because Andrew Barr is campaigning for a Yes vote!

I now issue this challenge. Could anybody please put forward just one intelligent, level headed and rational reason why gay marriage shouldn’t go ahead. Forget the nonsense about so-called “political correctness”, forget the rhetoric about “the left” and the Illuminati, just put forward a reason why we shouldn’t vote Yes.

I know that most of you are poorly educated, spend most of your time on the couch gorging on McDonald’s burgers and smoking, and taking everything the shock jocks say as the gospel truth, but get your thoughts together for a few seconds and come up with just one sensible argument against gay marriage.

Until that happens, my Yes vote is locked in until I hear one valid reason why we shouldn’t have marriage equality in this country.

GrumpyMark 11:24 pm 20 Aug 17

Traces_of_Nut said :

Worryingly Andrew Barr, in your enthusiasm you have forgotten an essential fact: It is our money – not yours.

I hope Barr or one of his cronies reads RiotACT because he needs to understand that ordinary citizens of the ACT will only put up with so much.
I have no beef against same sex marriage. If the definition of marriage is changed, it will not affect me or the lovely lady I have been married to for over 37 years.
I was all prepared to vote “Yes” in the plebiscite and would have done so in the postal survey. But I am seriously considering voting “No” as a protest against the misuse of public money by Barr and the Greens.
Imagine Mr Barr, if the ACT returned a No result how much ammunition that would give to the hard right wingers in the federal parliament?
If you p#ss off enough ACT citizens through your arrogant disregard for what the average person sees as a reasonable use of public monies, you may end up getting the exact opposite result to that you are promoting.

Postalgeek 1:56 pm 19 Aug 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

As far as I have seen so far, those opposed to marriage equality are labelled as bigots and recieve just as much hatred from the “Love is love” campaigners.

Except that you don’t see gangs cruising the streets for a spot of ‘bigot’ bashing, ‘No’ voters being thrown off buildings, or high suicide rates among young ‘no’ voters. In fact, ‘No’ voters don’t get within cooee of the violent persecution endured by the LGBT community for many, many years. I don’t condone intimidation by any party in this debate, but it turns my stomach when ‘no’ voters make out they are as hard done by as the LGBT community.

wildturkeycanoe 7:40 am 19 Aug 17

“Despite the concerns about the impact on many members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community,”
What impact may I ask? Does this whole debate not impact both sides of the argument? As far as I have seen so far, those opposed to marriage equality are labelled as bigots and recieve just as much hatred from the “Love is love” campaigners. Both sides need to get a grip and realise this is not helpful, that everybody has a right to speak their mind freely without repercussions and it is after all just a non-binding survey which won’t change our laws or constitution.
Anybody using fear or intimidation in this debate really shouldn’t. If it is a human rights issue, you cannot deny other people’s human rights in order to promote it, that is called hypocrisy.

Traces_of_Nut 6:36 pm 18 Aug 17

Worryingly Andrew Barr, in your enthusiasm you have forgotten an essential fact: It is our money – not yours.

chewy14 11:24 am 18 Aug 17

Garfield said :

chewy14 said :

John Moulis said :

I’ll be voting Yes because I do not think it is the proper role of government to regulate the behaviour and rights of citizens. We shouldn’t have a government minister playing favourites deciding who can and can’t get married. “This group over here, you’re alright, you can get married”, but that group over there “Oh no, you’re not allowed to get married”. And that decision is made on the basis of sexual preference, discrimination which was outlawed in NSW as far back as 1976.

It doesn’t matter what you think about homosexuality, the fact that we have this type of double standard in the 21st century, and this type of imposition by government onto the private lives of citizens is shameful.

By voting Yes we can ensure that a level playing field exists for all, and that we no longer have people in the community being denied what others in that community have been taking for granted for many years.

I will be voting “No” for the exact same reasons, the government shouldn’t be involved in regulating the personal relationships of it’s citizens and playing favourites with who can and can’t get married and in fact what “marriage” means.

No proposal currently put forward by anyone ends discrimination, it simply changes the definition of who can get married to one that includes same sex couples. It’s still as discriminatory as ever, just with a new definition that is favoured by SSM proponents.

The best option would be for the government to repeal the marriage act and institute a civil union bill where anyone can register any relationship(s) they want to for legal protection. If you want to have a ceremony, party, church service or whatever, you can do it on your own time, the government shouldn’t be involved.

I’m not sure that argument makes sense. You want the legal rights/responsibilities of civil marriage extended even further than same sex marriage, so you’ll vote against allowing an increased number of people to register their relationships with the government. It’s not 100% of what you seem to want, but isn’t something better than nothing?

The current proposals put forward only increase government involvement in people’s personal relationships and do not end discrimination, so there’s no inconsistency in my position. The proposed changes simply change the definition of marriage to that preferred by SSM proponents with no more logical basis than that used by those who wish it to remain the same.

I want to see the government moving away from the area, not entrenching themselves further.

The problem is that “civil” marriage is so entwined with the traditional, social and religious implications of marriage that they cannot be easily split. If it’s solely a civil legal issue, why on earth is the government registering celebrants to solemnise people’s relationships for what is basically a contract signing?

I don’t want the rights or responsibilities of marriage extended, I want it removed and any legal or property issues to be covered as they would in any other area.

MarkE 9:43 pm 17 Aug 17

It is outrageous that Andrew Barr and the Labor/Greens coalition have decided to use public money to fund a political campaign for the “Yes” case in the same sex marriage poll.
Andrew if you want to do this, use your own money. Don’t steal public money to do it.
According to the Budget Papers The ACT Government is over $2,000,000,000 in debt and it is rapidly rising. Every dollar they spend pushes the ACT deeper into this black hole. Just look around the world and see what happens to states and countries once their debt gets out of control. Excessive dept leads to fire sale privatizations, user pays everything and poverty for all.
It is outrageous to be squandering public money on this when all it is doing is leaving a larger dept for the next generation.
BTW. Both personally and as a Liberal Democrat I am strongly in favor of same sex marriage.

Mark Ellis
Candidate for Kurrajong in 2016 election
Liberal Democratic Party

Lucy Baker 8:16 pm 17 Aug 17

It would have been more strategic on the part of Andrew Barr to have funded an enrolment campaign aimed at young people (and travellers overseas) than this ratepayer-funded “yes” campaign. Could have achieved the same end without being partisan. The callers to talkback radio this morning were overwhelmingly annoyed with Barr.

Mysteryman 4:31 pm 17 Aug 17

“As we prepare for the postal survey, many of us are bracing for a campaign that we know will be damaging”

What garbage. There is no basis for the claim that it will be “damaging”, or that it will “unleash hate-speech” as a certain Leader of the Opposition lied about recently. Unless of course you count the vile and horrendous things SSM supporters have been tweeting at anyone who doesn’t agree with them, and the multiple and repeated death threats that organisations in favour of traditional marriage have been receiving. But neither of you would count that. That sort of actual damaging behaviour doesn’t seem to concern the Left much.

Garfield 1:22 pm 17 Aug 17

chewy14 said :

John Moulis said :

I’ll be voting Yes because I do not think it is the proper role of government to regulate the behaviour and rights of citizens. We shouldn’t have a government minister playing favourites deciding who can and can’t get married. “This group over here, you’re alright, you can get married”, but that group over there “Oh no, you’re not allowed to get married”. And that decision is made on the basis of sexual preference, discrimination which was outlawed in NSW as far back as 1976.

It doesn’t matter what you think about homosexuality, the fact that we have this type of double standard in the 21st century, and this type of imposition by government onto the private lives of citizens is shameful.

By voting Yes we can ensure that a level playing field exists for all, and that we no longer have people in the community being denied what others in that community have been taking for granted for many years.

I will be voting “No” for the exact same reasons, the government shouldn’t be involved in regulating the personal relationships of it’s citizens and playing favourites with who can and can’t get married and in fact what “marriage” means.

No proposal currently put forward by anyone ends discrimination, it simply changes the definition of who can get married to one that includes same sex couples. It’s still as discriminatory as ever, just with a new definition that is favoured by SSM proponents.

The best option would be for the government to repeal the marriage act and institute a civil union bill where anyone can register any relationship(s) they want to for legal protection. If you want to have a ceremony, party, church service or whatever, you can do it on your own time, the government shouldn’t be involved.

I’m not sure that argument makes sense. You want the legal rights/responsibilities of civil marriage extended even further than same sex marriage, so you’ll vote against allowing an increased number of people to register their relationships with the government. It’s not 100% of what you seem to want, but isn’t something better than nothing?

chewy14 12:56 pm 17 Aug 17

John Moulis said :

I’ll be voting Yes because I do not think it is the proper role of government to regulate the behaviour and rights of citizens. We shouldn’t have a government minister playing favourites deciding who can and can’t get married. “This group over here, you’re alright, you can get married”, but that group over there “Oh no, you’re not allowed to get married”. And that decision is made on the basis of sexual preference, discrimination which was outlawed in NSW as far back as 1976.

It doesn’t matter what you think about homosexuality, the fact that we have this type of double standard in the 21st century, and this type of imposition by government onto the private lives of citizens is shameful.

By voting Yes we can ensure that a level playing field exists for all, and that we no longer have people in the community being denied what others in that community have been taking for granted for many years.

I will be voting “No” for the exact same reasons, the government shouldn’t be involved in regulating the personal relationships of it’s citizens and playing favourites with who can and can’t get married and in fact what “marriage” means.

No proposal currently put forward by anyone ends discrimination, it simply changes the definition of who can get married to one that includes same sex couples. It’s still as discriminatory as ever, just with a new definition that is favoured by SSM proponents.

The best option would be for the government to repeal the marriage act and institute a civil union bill where anyone can register any relationship(s) they want to for legal protection. If you want to have a ceremony, party, church service or whatever, you can do it on your own time, the government shouldn’t be involved.

John Moulis 11:35 am 17 Aug 17

I’ll be voting Yes because I do not think it is the proper role of government to regulate the behaviour and rights of citizens. We shouldn’t have a government minister playing favourites deciding who can and can’t get married. “This group over here, you’re alright, you can get married”, but that group over there “Oh no, you’re not allowed to get married”. And that decision is made on the basis of sexual preference, discrimination which was outlawed in NSW as far back as 1976.

It doesn’t matter what you think about homosexuality, the fact that we have this type of double standard in the 21st century, and this type of imposition by government onto the private lives of citizens is shameful.

By voting Yes we can ensure that a level playing field exists for all, and that we no longer have people in the community being denied what others in that community have been taking for granted for many years.

Garfield 11:09 am 17 Aug 17

I think the plebiscite is a waste of money. This is an issue that could and should have been resolved by the parliament.

However, assuming the government is correct that the postal plebiscite is legal, I think the Senate should have approved the compulsory vote managed by the AEC. There are so many potential problems with a voluntary postal survey by the ABS that the extra $50m would have been worth it. At the same time there could have been questions asked about a range of other contentious issues so that the pollies knew what the people were actually thinking.

In case anyone is wondering, I’m voting yes because I believe in individual freedoms.

Elias Hallaj 10:40 am 17 Aug 17

Nicely put Rebecca! This campaign is particularly relevant for Canberrans as our own democratically elected government’s campaign to legalise marriage equality was thwarted by a High Court ruling in favour of Howard’s amendments (which he made without an expensive non-binding postal survey) to the Marriage Act in late 2013. As you correctly stated, Canberrans tend to be on the leading edge of progressive policy in Australia and it’s our community’s time to shine again and lead the way to a fairer society. “The ACT has a history of being much more progressive than the rest of the country when it comes to referendums and plebiscites (since we have been able to vote in them – only since 1977). We were the only jurisdiction to have a majority vote in favour of the Republic in 1999, was the only place to support the enshrining of ‘one vote one value’ that was put to referendum in 1988. We even went our own way in relation to the 1977 plebiscite regarding our national song, supported Waltzing Matilda over Advance Australia Fair.

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