I was going to vote ‘no’ to marriage equality, but then I looked more closely at the tactics of the ‘no’ campaign.
I saw powerful figures using their public profiles to endorse the no side of the debate. I saw Christians publicly telling the innocent children of gay parents that their parents are trying to destroy the fabric of our society. I saw the heads of powerful churches, churches that have failed to protect innocent children from criminal abuse, and protected abusers, threaten gay employees with job losses if they married. I saw several people telling some terrible whoppers about what might flow from the legalisation of same-sex marriage, some of them defying logic and reason itself. I saw some people saying that they are voting no because they don’t like Bill Shorten.
I then thought very carefully about who these gay people are who want to get married and I see that they are in all facets of our society – they are our relatives, our neighbours, our teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, artists, journalists, sportspeople, miners, tradespeople, and some of them are our politicians.
But the thing that most swayed me was the negativity, anger and fear displayed by No voters; their speech is full of words like appalled, vicious, violent, hatred, despicable, disturbing, etc.
I decided to choose positivity and to vote ‘yes’ to allow a small group of our valued citizens to have full civil rights like the rest of us.
Sheridan Roberts, Bemboka
Being seen as equal
I’d like to respond to Elvie Preo and Noel Carter’s letters about the national Marriage Equality Postal Survey, as well as talk more broadly about why you see people so passionate and out in force supporting equality in marriage.
I want to start by saying that personally, I don’t care all that much about marriage. I don’t see myself getting married and I don’t feel a desire to get married. That could all change down the track, but right now it is not something that interests me, and it’s not a personal preference that I am going to let influence my ‘Yes’ vote when the survey letter makes its way to my letterbox.
I don’t believe we needed this vote in the first place, and I don’t think it needed to be a referendum either. It should have been voted on in parliament. That’s why we elected them, not to push a vote they can’t decide on to the public to decide for them.
The reason those now voting ‘yes’ did not want a public, national vote is because of the extremely hurtful debate that many, particularly young members, of the LGBTQI community have been seeing since day one.
Being told, daily, that you are lesser than the rest of your peers, or that you are “the devil's work” for being born gay is something that can be distressing to queer youth. It has even led to extra mental health services for those feeling affected by the “respectful” debate. A debate and a vote that never needed to happen.
Unfortunately, LGBTQI people are now forced to watch campaigns in print and on TV, as well as plenty of editorial day in and day out telling them they are unnatural, and that their relationships are somehow not worth as much as everyone else's.
We aren’t trying to prevent you from voting, but we want you to see that for the LBGTQI community is about more. Yes, it’s about the legal right of marriage, but it’s also about actually being seen as equal, and not as “those” people “intent on getting their hands on the word ‘marriage’ ”.
It’s about breaking down that separation, and having people understand that we are all the same - marrying someone of the same sex shouldn’t change a thing.
Jacob Pittolo, Bega
To the South East Regional Hospital. Dorothy Edler was admitted to your hospital on August 28 where she remained until her passing on September 14. She was admitted to the ED department and from there to Medical Ward 2.
During that time she was cared for by AINs, ENS, RNs DRs and Security Staff. There were many other people who cared for Dorothy whom we did not meet, however we are writing to say thank you, to each and every one of you. The care, compassion, professionalism and empathy shown to Dorothy and us (her family) will never be forgotten. Each member of staff had their own unique way with Dorothy and not once did they give up on her.
She was a wife, mum, mother in law, nana and sister. She was ours and we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.