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.

“I cannot BELIEVE that others support the thing I support!”

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.

Yes, seriously.

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:

Source: Facebook

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.

It was a text message, not a howler!

“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.

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  • As usual, I love your blog post. None of this makes any sense and after some reflection I have come to believe that people are scared because they know that it is becoming less and less acceptable to openly air their homophobic/discriminatory beliefs. They have seen that people will stand up to them with logic and facts and passion about human rights and it makes them feel like they’ll be shamed (because while I am against abuse from either side I think their views are actually shameful). So the first moment they can complain about the campaign, it makes them feel like they can proclaim their wish to vote ‘no’ without having to admit publicly (or even to themselves – the denial runs deep) that it’s actually because they’re scared bigots. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

  • Neil Aitchison

    ….hmmm….you fail to realise that if anyone and everyone sent spam massages to our phones the way that the YES people have done in this SSM postal vote, we would be getting messages EVERY second of EVERYDAY 24/7 as mass-marketers try to sell their goods or services to as many people as possible sending millions of texts off without any regard for how inconvenient it is to the phone user – do you think that people want their phone used this way which would effectively render it useless because all the messages you actually want to receive would get hidden amongst all the thousands and thousands of spam messages that come in every day?….of course not. This is what people are ticked off about. Phones are considered one tool that we use for our OWN needs, unlike mass media on tv, billboards or sky-writing where we can easily ignore them if we want because there is nothing personal hidden in the delivery forum. But phones do have personal uses that we want/need and unsolicited spamming competes with these personal uses. That is why we have privacy laws. The YES people are showing once again that 1. they disregard the intentions/wishes of their audience by pushing what they want, how they want and expect their audience to “suck it up or shut up” and 2. when their audience complains that the YES people are causing inconvenience/annoyance/abuse/hurt/offense/rudeness/lying/assault/sabotage/misrepresentation/indoctrination/any-other-negative-impact-in-our-lives (take your pick from the list), the audience is ignored, or worse still, bullied/named/shamed/boycotted into subservience by the YES people.

    The phone messages are just another example of the YES side riding roughshod over people’s personal preferences which, by default, ticks people off and if the YES people are ticking people off now, then how much more will they be prepared to tick people off if SSM becomes law???….this is a valid worry. Do you really expect us to think that the YES people will stop at just SSM?. Is phone spam going to be a common occurrence post-SSM? You can pretend that the people should do it your way, but you simply don’t command the authority or influence to be noticed….we aren’t taking notice of you because you aren’t taking notice of us. The consequences of changing marriage and the tactics being used to achieve SSM are unknown and unexplained by the YES side. This goes for all the YES tactics and so the NO side builds. Equality, fairness, rights and love already occurs in the Marriage Act, but homosexuals choose not to marry this way (by marrying as the Marriage Act outlines) and so they are wanting a new marriage concept. We don’t know how it will affect all facets of our lives and already we see the YES side impacting our lives in a million unpleasant ways….indeed, a simply YES to same sex marriage may very realistically turn into a NO when the impact in our lives is far, far more than just same sex couples getting married. The YES side ignores all the consequenses and so they blindly lose support day by day as the postal vote draws to a close.

  • I just can’t get my head around this at all. Only realised about the “man and woman” thing in the marriage ceremony the other day and made me feel very relieved we got married in the UK, where incidentally our friends who love someone of the same sex can get married too. The more I read about this campaign the more it makes me stabby, first that the government haven’t got the balls to make the (right) decision, secondly, that they’re asking us to “vote” on an issue that is human rights and third that they’re wasting 122 million dollars. Add to this the fickle nature of the Australian public with this “oh that text message annoyed me so I’ll vote no.” This isn’t a playground game we’re playing here, we’re securing equal rights for our fellow countryfolk and future generations of Australians. It’s black and white, yes or no, you either believe in human rights or you don’t. And if you believe in human rights, and want everyone to be equal, your vote will be yes, no matter what text messages you receive, FB posts you read and sky writing you see.

  • Have I told you how much I love you? Again you’ve managed to say the stuff I couldn’t find the words for. xoxo

  • I have had to stop reading the bullshit I am finding on social media for fear of hurting someone, such is my outrage. I have not yet found one person with a sensible reason for voting no. This effects my family and so yes I am super sensitive to this, but I think we all should be. Great post! Thanks for putting so much into words I am too angry to do so myself x

  • Great post! I did receive the text message like many others, I didn’t become a stampy child about it and it would never, ever change my vote! I’ve laid low on social media because some of the arguments for the no vote are laughable, and at the end of the day, same sex marriages will not and never will change the world we live in to the ‘Armageddon’ like scenarios that people are conjuring up. Get over the text message, vote with your heart (if you have one!)

  • LydiaCLee

    Those people are doing my head in. Last night someone wrote “I was going to order pizza but my mailbox was stuffed with Domino coupons so I’m never going to eat Italian again’. That’s exactly how stupid that mentality is. And we are a very, very stupid nation. Someone literally told my husband that he was voting NO because it would make the energy prices go up. I can not even fathom anyone who can breathe can actually think that’s a reason????

  • I think it’s a pathetic excuse by people who were going to vote no anyway. Yes the SMS was irritating but a lot more irritating stuff happens every day and a lot more actual SERIOUS stuff happens every day.

  • It’s really ridiculous isn’t it. People claiming that their inconvenience at receiving one single text message is enough to entirely change their perspective on gay marriage to the extreme opposite? It’s messed up. It just compounds the already stupid idea of having everyone vote on something that should be decided swiftly and efficiently by the legislature.

  • I didn’t receive the text message and I’m glad I didn’t, but even if I had I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to change my vote. The issue at hand is that at the moment there exists a huge inequality that needs to be fixed! Looking back at this in 10-20 years time people will be absolutely gobsmacked that it took Australia this long to fix such a basic inequality.

  • *INSERT STANDING OVATION GIF HERE*

    Just shared on my FB page. YES. YES. To the vote and to every word of the post. ALL THE YES. x

  • It really is quite ridiculous how enraged people are over a text message. Like you said compared to an election that’s nothing. Everyone should be more appalled about how people are acting on social media and how disgusting and vile people are being about something that doesn’t even personally affect them in the first place.

  • While I don’t feel any individual should be abused or shamed over the way they decide to vote as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, personally I can’t believe millions of dollars are being spent on a vote to secure human rights for current and future generations of Australians, something that should already be a given. #teamIBOT

  • Amen. And I saw a new No ad on TV tonight where some cranky old bastard bemoans the fact “you can’t say anything anymore” . . . what, like calling people poofs? I have taken to shaking my fist at the TV like Grampa Simpson.