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Pride flag Chris Ison ROK160815cequality12

LETTER: 'At the end of the day this is about love and equality'

COME on Australia, surely we can do better than this!

Tuesday morning I woke to the shocking news that hateful anti-gay posters are being distributed in Melbourne and Sydney. The content being of two men holding rainbow belts, in a threatening manner, over a cowering child citing unsubstantiated claims.

The LGBTI community have long said the marriage equality plebiscite/postal ballot would descend into a hateful and harmful tirade and it seems unfortunately these predictions are coming true.

This comes in the face of the government telling us that this will be a respectful debate. Well hardly, we have already seen Bronwyn Bishop disgracefully call children of gay couples "the next stolen generation” and Tony Abbott tell us it's about everything else but marriage equality, and now these despicable hateful misinformed posters. And all this in only the first few days of the debate. It makes one wonder how far this whole debacle will actually descend, and at what cost to us as an already marginalised minority, who, already having had a long battle for the few rights we have attained. Also, what about our young people, who are at a stage in their life, when questions arise about their own sexuality. As if they need additional pressure at a time when really all they need is our love and support.

The feedback I get in my local community is "can we just get it over and done with”, why does it even need a postal ballot when originally John Howard changed the Marriage Act without any plebiscite/ballot. It appears they don't need a plebiscite to go to war or give themselves a pay rise. The point I would like to make, how is it, our government can come up with $122,000,000 for this fiasco and yet Australia has 100,000 of our own citizens currently homeless? Out of that, 40,000 are children and young people. Imagine for a moment sleeping outdoors on some of these freezing cold nights we've experienced over this last winter. This is a disgraceful statistic! I for one can think of a better way to spend that money. Imagine how much housing and emergency accommodation could be built with that sort of money. And for what? Every survey conducted on the subject clearly show overwhelming support for marriage equality. Even our prime minister states that he will be voting yes, then what's the problem, simply put it to a conscience vote at the very next sitting of parliament and it would be all done and dusted, and save this ridiculous, harmful, nasty debate even happening. Already we can see how this tactic is going downhill fast.

At the end of the day this whole debate is about love and equality, which in itself is about human rights. Simply put, the right for a couple to declare publicly their love for each other and their desire to spend the rest of their lives together and have the government recognise their relationship, no matter their gender, is this really such a big deal? It's just plain and simple madness.

Are our politicians governing for all Australia's or have they descended into a pick and choose situation were they think it's acceptable to treat a minority differently from other Australians. Myself being a gay man in a loving committed relationship for 33 years still find it ridiculous that I am still unable to marry my partner of all these years, however, for tax reasons, the status of de facto is thrust upon us which simply doesn't give us the legal recognition that marriage does. I can't help but feel that we are treated as second class citizens.

Most of us enjoy the colour and spectacle of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, but why is it so difficult to embrace and accept our unique and vibrant community outside of these times? I thought The Australian ethos was "a fair go for all.” Maybe now is a good time to remind ourselves of this. Mr Hogan do you forget you represent us, your constituents, and not your own personal or party ideology. New Zealand are well ahead of us on this issue and the sky didn't fall in or fireballs reign down from above, no, life went on just as it always had, however, I'm told that the wedding/holiday industries are booming.

In conclusion I implore the honourable member for page, Mr Kevin Hogan, to immediately table a bill that will enshrine marriage equality for all and avoid this costly fiasco. Don't worry Mr Hogan there will be those that will cross the floor with you (I can think of a few) and please have the courage to give this long awaited recognition to all Australians and immediately put a stop to this unwanted and condescending debate once and for all.

Phillip Wakeling

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