THE VOTE ON GAY MARRIAGE
The postal vote on gay marriage has turned Australia into something uncomfortably absurd.
Over recent months, we have not demonstrated ourselves to be a country that is young and free, welcoming and jovial. On an early morning talk show yesterday, two guests were presented with the chaos currently surrounding the vote- uni students being beaten, lives being threatened, a campaign lunch interrupted by protesters with signs that said “burn churches, not gays”. One guest suggested that maybe this is all acceptable because gays have been treated this way for years.
“An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind”, said Ghandi. Of course, Jesus said something similar, but I wouldn’t dare quote him in this current climate.
What’s interesting is that, because of the things happening from the campaigns, people are voting based on a heap of things other than the actual question [should gay marriage be allowed in Australia?]. I have heard Christians decide to vote yes because they are sick of seeing innocent children caught up in the crossfire. I have heard gay people are voting no because the conditions of the vote don’t satisfy them. I have heard people who don’t want to vote at all because they have no idea which decision would be less harmful. And so, an often opinionated Australia is caught up in a tidal wave of confusion, even if people are just too scared to say what they really think out loud because they know they’ll cop backlash.
I have made it no secret I am a Christian- just check your web browser. I have no qualms calmly discussing the matter with those genuinely curious to hear my views, however I haven’t found many people who are ready to hear me out using their inside voices. I have kept my head down and why? Because not for the first time in my life, I am afraid of the repercussions from people who call themselves my friends.
In Year 11, someone got the wrong gist of my opinions and instead of confronting me, told everyone who they thought I was. In two weeks, no one would meet my eye and yet it took me two years to find out what had actually happened- what had I actually done wrong? Nothing.
About a week ago, my friend changed her profile picture to include an “it’s okay to vote no” frame, and her boss, instead of engaging in personal discussion and hearing her out, fired her and posted to Facebook about it. It must make a coward feel a whole lot better to be surrounded by a select few backing her up.
This is not okay.
This cannot be okay.
I decided not to write a post about what people should vote. I know two things about Australians- 1) they hate being told what to do, and 2) they’ll tell you all about it. I decided to write a post, therefore, suitable for any voter.
The madness has to stop.
I saw a post by someone I met and friended a couple of years ago on Facebook who asked anyone voting no to unfriend him. I have seen “no” voters called homophobes, even when they may be gay themselves. I have seen relationships broken over words that can never be retracted, and to think this is all happening over a clash of opinions. It really didn’t take much.
I refuse to lose friends over a vote. I refuse to limit myself and my discussions to politics. I refuse to be defined by a box I ticked or ostracised by gossiping ever again. I refuse to live in fear, and the solution to all of this stopping is ironically exercising what the vote is meant to be advocating: love. True, pure love.
You who are calling for acceptance need to stop bullying those who are different to you.
You who are advocating for equality but ignoring pleas from the opposite side that their rights are being denied need to listen.
I am asking for an end to the madness.
You may be left with the question, so what am I voting?
My answer would be to first ask yourself:
1) Should it matter?
2) Would you ask me face to face?
3) What would you do if I said something you didn’t like?