Saturday, September 23, 2017

Australia LGBT Advocates Worried Over Marriage Vote

From The Washington Blade by Helen Parshall:

The Australian postal vote on marriage equality is taking an emotional toll on LGBT advocates across the continent as the November deadline draws closer.

Conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the survey asks, “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Residents of age and registered by Aug. 24 have until Nov. 7 to return the form.

The results of this vote are not binding.

The Australian Parliament elected in August to avoid an internal vote, putting marriage equality instead to the people. Advocates with whom the Washington Blade spoke said that this process is “highly unusual.”

“It honestly sometimes feels like a war zone,” said Sally Goldner, a bisexual and transgender advocate in Melbourne who works with the Bisexual Alliance Victoria, Transgender Victoria and other groups.

Australian elections are usually compulsory, and many believe because the survey is voluntary, it has shifted the political landscape.

“These are very trying times,” Goldner said, “And we need support from the outside world right now against all this negativity. The far end of the no campaign is loud and shrill.”

“We’re really having to dig into our reserves,” Goldner added. “These groups are trying to say that it’s a decision to be trans and acting like we don’t know anything about our own lives. LGBTI people have to send the strongest message of support possible, and then we’ll go from there.”

See full story here.

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