SEXPOL : Allan Joyce CEO of Qantas hugs Mada Szubanski on the stage to celebatre the YES vote at Prince Alfred Park, Sydney the verdic of the postal vote on same sex marriage is YES in every state, on 15 November 2017. Photo: Jessica Hromas 15/11/17 SEXPOL Thousands of Melbournians turned out to celebrate the Yes vote in the Same Sex survey at the State Library, Melbourne. Photograph by Chris Hopkins
You could hear the shouts of relief and joy from the main streets of little rural towns clear to the festive places of great cities.
Call it a national act of love.
Call it the realisation of a time and place from which, finally, we can see a glad day coming when ns can look back and wonder what the fuss was all about.
The people of , the majority of them, have told those who make the laws that despite the hullabaloo and cross words of recent months, they are a lot more relaxed about the ways in which people wish to express their love than some of their representatives might have imagined.
They have, in effect, instructed lawmakers to abandon a long history of intolerance against a large group of their fellow ns, and to quit pandering to those who hold themselves out as moral arbiters.
Thirteen-and-a-half years ago, Prime Minister John Howard rushed into legislation a Marriage Act that restricted the definition of marriage to the “voluntarily entered-into union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others”.
Given that the law previously had nothing to say about marriage, it was a deliberate and painful slap in the face, as public as could be delivered, to all those who hoped to formalise partnerships within their same sex, and to the families and friends who shared those hopes.
And now, it turns out, it was a misjudgment of the wider n character.
These few years later, n voters have declared that if men wish to marry men, and women wish to marry women, that’s all right with them.
Those millions of ns who ticked “yes” to the question “should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”, have declared, in essence, that they wish to welcome to the national family those who have been deliberately excluded from expressing their love by a public act of union.
Could it be interpreted as anything other than a vote for an old n quality that has previously had no outing in this subject: fairness? May we call it as something simple as the wish for a fair go?
In doing so, ns have placed their nation on a path already embraced by 24 other countries – either nationwide or in parts – that have chosen marriage equality for their citizens, regardless of sexuality.
ns, however, have made their wishes known more emphatically than others who have been given a vote on the matter.
The famous Irish referendum of 2015 on same-sex marriage attracted votes from 60 per cent of registered voters.
Though the postal vote in was voluntary, almost 80 per cent of those enrolled chose to have their say. Four in every five ns, and like the Irish, almost two-thirds of respondents said yes!
This, a much greater national turnout than in any of the other recent votes on more complex issues like Brexit and the election of a President of the United States, can clearly not be ignored by legislators – particularly those who, in hoping for a no vote, cynically pushed the issue out of the parliament and into the hands of the public in the first place.
We can see from here a time, not so long away, once the legislators have done the straightforward work the nation has declared it requires of them, when we will calm from the high emotion of recent months, and look back with disbelief at the long, wasted years of discrimination and cruelty, and wonder ??? what was all the fuss about?
The n people have chosen.
It is a glad day, and a gladder day coming. You can hear it in the streets.