Singer Tullara Connors speaks out over same-sex marriage
WHEN I was 18 I made a bet with a friend that marriage equality would happen within two years.
I was 100% sure of it. Six years later, I'm almost 24, and gay marriage is still not possible.
I've always been thankful to grow up in a country like Australia, with its space, freedom, and opportunity. You could say I'm proud to be Australian. But when it comes to marriage equality, something that should be a no-brainer, I feel disappointed in my country and its government.
All my life I've been told stories of love. I've watched every Disney film that resolves with a happy ending of love, I've been to many of my friend's and family's weddings - celebrations of love.
Every story, every film, and every wedding produced the same overwhelming feeling of joy inside me. The joy of two people finding each other, against all the odds, challenges, reason and coincidence, and falling in love.
It truly is a marvellous thing.
Between the age of 14 and 16, I slowly came to the realisation that I was gay. Nothing changed about my appearance, nothing changed about my sense of humour, nothing changed about the friends I had. Nothing really changed about me at all. The only recognisable difference was that I now made more sense of myself.
Unfortunately, for many other LGBTQI people - young and old - it isn't a smooth journey. They can be made to feel guilt, shame, hurt, and fear for something beyond their control.
Marriage equality will not only allow many individuals to marry, but it will in turn send out the message to younger generations that LGBTQI people are part of our community. They do have equal rights, and they deserve to be treated with that same respect.
I've fallen in love in the past and I'll fall in love again, just like you, just like anyone. You don't have to marry someone in order to fall in love, but when you are in love, and marriage is something that you desire, then shouldn't you be free to make that choice?
What I ask for is to be given the right to be able to marry who I fall in love with.
By voting yes you are allowing someone like me, and many other Australians, to have the freedom and right to marry who they love. By voting yes you're making a difference to someone's life. You might not even realise it, but by voting yes you're showing somebody you may never meet that they are equal and that their feelings are just as genuine and valid as anyone else's. We all deserve that right.