Stirring up hate is not the Aussie family way!
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While part of my delight stems from the fact this will also put pressure on Labor to declare its hand on marriage equality – causing a major headache for PM Michael Turnbull – the best part is that it has the potential to save many young lives.
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The plebiscite is nothing more than a $160 million, non-binding campaign that gives a platform to religious extremists and ignorants – along with their toxic and often twisted views.
And you don't have to go far to see or hear how destructive that kind of hateful bile can be. Prominent Tassie comedian Hannah Gadsby struck a chord this week with her deeply personal Facebook post, which quickly went viral.
In doing so, she exposed the marriage equality plebiscite for what it truly is – a danger to young LGBT Australians.
Gadsby explained how she’s had to deal with the effects of anxiety and low self-esteem every day since her experiences as a queer teenager in Tasmania in the 1990s, when the state was debating whether to legalise homosexuality.
“Just imagine how brilliant I could have been if I hadn’t been given such a shit show at such a vulnerable time in my life,” she wrote. “[The plebiscite debate] will not only ruin young lives, it will end some of them.
“I am very concerned that the plebiscite debate is going to be another open season for hate. I fear for those, particularly in regional Australia, who are isolated from positive voices. Speech is not free when it comes at such a cost. This plebiscite is FUCKED!”
I’ll say! Imagine if this was your own beautiful child, perhaps struggling with their sexual identity amid the horrors of puberty, being forced into a similar life journey. I think not!
Or as Gadsby wrote: “In the mid-90s I was the age when I should have been learning how to be vulnerable, how to handle a broken heart, how to deal with rejection and how to deal with all the other great silly things about young love which help pave the way to the more substantial adult version. But instead I learned how to close myself off and rot quietly in self-hatred.
“I learned this because I learned that I was sub-human during a debate where only the most horrible voices and ideas were amplified by the media. These voices also gave permission for others to tell me that I was less than them, with looks, words and, on one occasion, violence.”
So to Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, who announced on Friday that his party would not support a motion to enable the plebiscite, I say thankyou.
Thankyou for wading through the spineless political mire to grab this issue by the curleys and give it a good squeeze.
Thankyou for preventing countless young souls from feeling anything less than human.
Thankyou for saving lives.
After the announcement was made, Di Natale said: "We should never put questions of human rights to an opinion poll. The easiest, simplest, quickest, most effective, least costly and least harmful way of ensuring equality in marriage is through a vote in the parliament, and we can do that next week should the Prime Minister decide to show some leadership.”
Speaking of leadership, the last word must go to Australian Marriage Equality chairman Alex Greenwich, who called on the PM, the Opposition, the Greens and Nick Xenophon to meet before parliament resumed and agree on a pathway for marriage equality.
"No one party has the numbers by themselves to achieve marriage equality through a parliamentary vote or a plebiscite. We call on our leaders to urgently come together and deliver marriage equality in line with the wishes of the Australian people,” he said.