Earlier this week, Bel Hopkinson, who just recently turned 18, told us that "I am proud to be voting YES to marriage equality in the upcoming postal vote as my first-ever vote". So many Australians have raised concerns about the postal vote and we are continuing to fight this ridiculous idea in the courts.
But, if this vote cannot be stopped, we will need all Australians -- young and old -- to step up, stand together and make sure they are on the electoral roll, ready to vote so that love can win. The energy and commitment of people like Bel who are coming forward and raising their voices in support fills us with hope and inspiration.
The campaign for marriage equality is at a critical point. What happens next will determine whether loving couples in same-sex relationships can access the same legal rights as all their friends and family.
Already, more than $100,000 has been raised to challenge the postal vote in the High Court. If, however, we are unable to stop it, we must win it. We did not ask for this but if we are forced to undergo the postal plebiscite, we will do everything we can to show LGBTQ Australians that the country supports them and stands shoulder to shoulder with them for fairness and equality.
As Bel says, we can "demonstrate our support for many of our peers who might be struggling with their sense of self, by showing them that Australia celebrates them for who they are".
More than a decade of polling has shown that Australians overwhelmingly support marriage equality. As Bel told us, "marriage equality is extremely important to me because I understand how much its legislation will mean to close friends of mine and members of my community whom I respect greatly".
For one of Bel's best friends, Gabi, ensuring marriage equality happens this year is especially important. Gabi has two mothers who travelled to New York to get married, firstly in a religious ceremony in 1998, and again in 2011 in City Hall.
For her family, like so many families across Australia, it's time for marriage equality and to get there, Gabi has one simple message:
"Young people, like myself, must be motivated to enrol to vote, so our voices can be heard. You need to check your postal details, and vote YES. It is not only important as a matter of principle but only fair to thousands of families just like mine."
For us to win the postal plebiscite it will be tough, with its tight timing and unfair process, we are going to have to work harder than ever before and we are going to need the help of all our supporters right across the country. Now is the time to get active and to get involved.
There are some key actions that people can take right now that can help us prepare to win. First, make sure you're enrolled to vote and that your postal address is correct. If you are around the age of 18 or you're not currently enrolled, head to http://www.aec.gov.au/enrol.
If you are enrolled, you can also check your current address is correct at this site so that you get your survey papers. Remember that you only have until August 24 to enroll, so time is absolutely critical.
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It is has been inspiring to see young Australians enrolling in large numbers and we know that many more support us so make sure you can have your say. It would be beyond devastating to miss out on your chance to show your support for all Australians sharing the freedom to marry by missing the deadline.
Second, make sure that your friends and family are also enrolled to vote before August 24. We know that a lot of young people are not currently on the electoral roll but that there is enormous support from young people for marriage equality. So spread the word.
When marriage equality comes to Australia, it is going to a historic moment that sends a powerful message of inclusion across the country. Now is the time to make sure that you're a part of this movement. The power is in your hands and if we act now, together, we can win this.Suggest a correction