Every day, YourLifeChoices runs news articles and commentary on current affairs. It does not tell its 250,000 members how they should respond to such issues. But today we are breaking style and sharing an editorial on a matter that we feel is extremely important.
On 7 November, the Australian same sex marriage law survey will close. This ‘poll’ has been conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), using postal votes for eligible citizens (those on the electoral rolls) to respond to a question about whether our current marriage laws should change. Given the appalling delivery record of Australia Post, it is likely that you will need to have posted your form by this Friday, 27 October, so that it actually does arrive by the due date.
Much of the media coverage has anticipated that those voting ‘No’ to this change will be older Australians, suggesting that their natural conservatism is part of the reason.
YourLifeChoices flatly rejects this ageist perception that older voters are unable to vote for progressive policy change. We believe that many of our members – in fact most – will have friends, family or acquaintances who are gay and wish to formalise their relationships as marriages, the way the rest of the population is able to do. Some of our members identify as LGBTI, and have lived for decades in stable relationships which they would love to call a marriage, with a certificate to prove it.
When it comes down to the wire, it is all about love. And about the basic human right to love whom you wish, and to marry them, if you wish.
This vote is not about what might be taught in schools, as hard as the ‘No’ campaign wishes to persuade us that it is. It is not about the rights of the cake maker or the photographer on the day, if they happen to be homophobic. It is about the civil right to enter into the union of marriage with whomever you want. Simple as that.
We know that sharing this editorial, which supports a ‘Yes’ vote, will probably upset some of our members who support the ‘No’ campaign. That is fine – in a democracy we should all have the right to express our beliefs. The real pity is that it has come to this – a postal poll – because the government of the day did not have the intestinal fortitude to allow a free vote in Parliament – as a democracy should. The contrast with the conscience vote in the Victorian Parliament for the ‘Dying with Dignity’ Bill could not be more stark.
Now is the chance for those who believe, as the YourLifeChoices team does, that all Australians deserve to be treated equally when it comes to marriage, to ensure this poll delivers a result that simply cannot be ignored. We do not know how the Federal Government will respond to the results, but we do know that a high ‘Yes” vote will make it very difficult for this basic right to be ignored any longer.
Because retirement rights shouldn’t limited to finances,
Drew, Leon, SJ, Ryan, Kathryn, Lucy, Ben, Olga, Haya, David & Kaye