Is the “Yes” campaign creating “No” voters?
I’m a bit on the cranky side, so buckle your seat belts, folks, because this might get bumpy.
This is about the Marriage Equality campaign that we are all in our respective trenches over right now. Many of us believe that a public debate and survey over a basic human right like marriage is entirely inappropriate. The government, in 2004, changed the wording of the Marriage Act in a day. This government has decided that they can’t make a decision without an expensive, non-binding survey and weeks of campaigning. So, here we are. And it’s not been very pleasant.
Let’s start with an analogy.
Imagine it’s almost election time. Pretend that you are a lifetime Labor voter who fully supports their vision.
There are ads encouraging people to vote for Labor on the TV, radio and online. You see your friends and family sharing pro-Labor posts on social media. You’ve seen them discussing their reasoning for voting Labor. A colleague asked who you were voting for and when you said Labor, they said they were voting Labor too.
You feel that Labor are the party that best represents Australia’s values and are the most suitable party to run the country.
Knowing other people also support Labor should make you feel hopeful of Labor’s election victory and also make you feel reassured that others share your political values.
Do you know what seeing all that support for Labor wouldn’t do? It wouldn’t outrage you.
The visibility of their campaign would not cause you to have a tantrum and vote One Nation instead, because that would make no sense whatsoever.
And yet, this is what is apparently happening over the marriage equality campaign.
Wade through the comments on social media and you’ll find a lot of these sentiments, with people claiming that the “yes” campaign is so prevalent that their vote has changed from a yes to a no. I have had friends lament family members for making statements like these:
Let that sink in for a moment.
LGBTI people (along with supporters) are actively campaigning to have the same rights to marry as heterosexual couples already have.
People are now claiming to be withdrawing their support for the marriage equality campaign because supporters are somehow too active or visible for their liking. This is in spite of the fact that a recent report shows that the “no” campaign has received 4 times the coveragethat the “yes” campaign has. What are people supposed to do? Let the “no” campaigners say whatever they want while sitting on their hands and hoping people support their rights?
Last weekend, a mass text message was sent out asking people to vote “yes”. The way some people have reacted to this text, you’d think it transformed their phone into a terrifying visage that shouted the message at them while they tried to enjoy a quiet meal. It has become the latest excuse to vote against a basic human right.
“I was gonna support marriage equality but then I got a text message asking me to support marriage equality. Can you believe the nerve of these people, asking me to support something I was already gonna support?! That does it, I’m voting no- that will show them!”
You don’t have to like the campaign.
If you think the text message was too much or a wrong move, that’s fine. You don’t have to like the advertising, the posts on social media, the discussions or even the mouthy bloggers who keep banging on about it all. What you do have to do, if you’re a decent human being, is put all that aside. I am saying yes, but not because of the “no” campaign.
I simply want the Marriage Act changed so that same sex couples can have a legally recognised marriage with the same rights and protections as any other married person.
Although I don’t think we should ever have been asked our opinions on this, we have been. The government has given you input into whether or not our laws will reflect the fact that all relationships are equally valid, regardless of gender. You aren’t being asked to vote on the merits of anyone’s campaign. Your survey response is not a stick to bash LGBTI people with because you’re annoyed that you got a fucking text message. It is a chance to help make something right.
In fact, I call bullshit.
I don’t believe this text message really changed anyone’s decision from “yes” to “no” at all.
When the “no” campaign employed a robo-caller to phone people and encourage them to vote no, I didn’t read anything about people against marriage equality flipping to become “yes” voters in their outrage. When the “no” campaign literally took to the skies, I saw plenty of hurt and upset. What I did not see was people saying they’d change their vote from “no” to “yes”, because writing “VOTE NO” all over the sky was a bit too fucking much. It wouldn’t have made any logical sense and it doesn’t make logical sense now.
If getting a text or seeing something else urging you to support marriage equality makes you STOP supporting marriage equality, then your support was extremely fickle (if it even existed) in the first place. I think you’re just looking for excuses to hide behind.
Awesome buttons pictured made by the excellent Nat Panzarino of “Got A Pen?” and Pointy Pembelton fame- this ace person had handed out hundreds of buttons over the last few weeks!
#IBOT @ Capturing Life.
Gifs via Giphy.