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Same-Sex Marriage: To Secure A 'Yes' We Must Vote 'No' To Complacency

Winning this will take every single one of us.

25/08/2017 11:56 AM AEST | Updated 25/08/2017 12:19 PM AEST
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"To succeed in the enormous task that lies ahead, we will need supporters campaigning hard across Australia to make sure people vote and understand just why this issue matters so deeply to LGBTQ Australians and to their friends and families."

The campaign ahead for marriage equality is undoubtedly a tough one. While a majority of Australians support marriage equality, we now face an untested and unwanted postal plebiscite that sets aside our previous democratic parliamentary process. We must work hard to overcome this challenge and to show that all Australians and their friends and families are supported and valued by their communities and their country.

To win, we must stay positive, focused and encourage each other as the process continues. Marriage equality will bring us together and is simply about allowing all Australians to be treated equally under our civil law.

We have already seen opponents try and raise and conflate unrelated issues as a distraction as the campaign rolls on, simply because there is so much support for marriage equality in Australian society. Let's not let them sidetrack us and divert our energies.

We can win this but it will take each one of us, working hard, talking to friends and family and reaching out to spread our message of fairness and equality among the community.

Registration for voting closed earlier this week and it has been uplifting to see the numbers of new voters signing up on the electoral roll or updating their details.

Now, to succeed in the enormous task that lies ahead, we will need supporters campaigning hard across Australia to make sure people vote and understand just why this issue matters so deeply to LGBTQ Australians and to their friends and families.

We have passed the first hurdle of enrolment, but we must not be complacent in turning out supporters to post their ballots. We can win this but it will take each one of us, working hard, talking to friends and family and reaching out to spread our message of fairness and equality among the community.

Fortunately, we can already see that community members are wasting no time in rising to the challenge. Ballots will be posted out from September 12, so now is a great time to start conversations and take actions that harness the energy in your communities.

We spoke this week to Dawn Hawkins, based in the electorate of Gilmore on New South Wales' South Coast, who told us that a strong momentum is building among her community with a range of activities already planned, including a picnic and peaceful march this coming Sunday.

People are travelling to Nowra from as far south as Bateman's Bay and as far north as Wollongong to join others in a show of support for marriage equality. Another community picnic will be followed by a peaceful walk across the Nowra Bridge.

Dawn told us that "locals want to show that this is an issue that matters to them" and that her community was "motivated, standing alongside us and are determined to campaign in a lovely and respectful way".

Dawn also told us that people in her community see the issue as something that cuts across the political divide and impacts many in the Gilmore electorate. The local council and lots of small business are helping out the campaign, and recently an elderly woman from the community painstakingly crafted a beautiful quilt that was to be auctioned off in support for marriage equality.

This lovely piece of craft, a heartfelt donation from a grandmother, symbolises the strong support that exists among a diverse group of the Australian public for this reform.

There have already been a range of other community forums, events and activities across Australia, ranging from people putting up posters to others handwriting letters to their neighbours, friends and families to explain why a 'Yes' vote in the postal plebiscite is so important.

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Let's Remember Who This Same-Sex Marriage Debate Is Really About

From today, through the new campaign hub www.yes.org.au, people across Australia will be empowered to call fellow supporters and connect, share stories and provide details on community events, like Dawn's one in Nowra.

The site will provide 'Yes' voters with everything needed to start campaigning; how to have conversations about marriage equality and the importance of a yes vote.

Perhaps the remarkable achievement of the marriage equality campaign thus far has been the way that locals from cities and towns across this country have already shown us their ability to design and implement individual campaigns that speak to local values and connect with their communities.

As we enter into this campaign, we will see more colour, more communities working together and more Australians standing peacefully and respectfully in support of each other as we work towards equality.

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