HAVING your relationship up for debate on the national stage has been “horrendous” and “insulting”, same-sex couples in Bathurst say.
The same-sex marriage postal survey was controversial from the start and it attracted heated debate from the “yes” and “no” camps.
But finally, the results will be announced at 10am on Wednesday.
Mark Bayliss, who has been with his partner Tony Kirby since 1999, said the survey was horrendous and it caused a lot of anxiety.
“I was very disheartened by the way some of the community reacted to the same-sex plebiscite and how the church has been pursing the ‘no’ vote,” he said.
- Read more: Same-sex marriage results - What happens next?
- Read more: Father and son on opposite sides of the same-sex marriage debate
While another Bathurst couple, Sophie Meredith and her partner Alison Gerard, said they had received a lot of support
“Many locals have contacted us or family members of ours to pass the message on that they have voted yes,” Ms Meredith said.
“Community members we don’t even know have also stopped us to share their support which has been so lovely.
“I think having kids, being older and being female all make us seem less ‘threatening’ to some people suffering from homophobia.”
Ms Meredith said, however, it did feel insulting to have her relationship judged on a national stage.
“We have been allowed to have children for so long, where both same-sex parents are on the birth certificate, so when the debate becomes about kids and the validity of our relationships altogether rather than just marriage, it is very frustrating.”
“I can’t ignore the bigotry and difficulties that some people have faced.”
Bathurst gay rights advocate Andy Wheeler said it had been: “Very confronting to see how others outside perceive us, and often so wrongly.”
“I’m surprised and disgusted, not just for the cost, that my freedom and equality must be given, by those who will have nothing to do with my marrying, living or dying.
“To speculate and hypothesise that a yes vote will be the end of the world is a nonsensical way of showing a lack of understanding of LGBTI people.”
Despite this, Mr Wheeler said the Bathurst community had been very supportive.
“The community of Bathurst has been wonderfully warm in what many regard as an issue that is of little or no concern to them,” he said.
“Support has come from all ages and backgrounds, and that’s a great overview of my city.”
Is the result binding?
The non-binding, voluntary survey is only a guide for politicians on how they will treat the issue in parliament and at this stage there is no confirmed bill the MPs and Senators will vote on.
Ms Meredith said she was hopeful the community would realise that “we’re all made of the same stuff”.
“I really hope we can we just move on because Australia really has gone ahead in terms of the acceptance of LGBTI+ families, whatever the result,” she said.