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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Yes

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It’s the most powerful word in human language. ‘Yes’ says I am open. ‘Yes’ says that you will accept the views of another. ‘Yes’ gives permission. ‘Yes’ opens doors. ‘Yes’ extends a hand to another. ‘Yes’ gives you a lift home from a party. ‘Yes’ admits to wrongdoing. ‘Yes’ volunteers to help. ‘Yes’ believes in you. ‘Yes’ meets you for your morning walk. ‘Yes’ helps you move house. ‘Yes’ accepts you for who you are. ‘Yes’ says I love you and I choose to share my life with you. ‘Yes’ isn’t gendered. And every single person on the planet deserves ‘Yes’.

This week I hope you vote ‘Yes’. I hope you vote ‘Yes’ to something that is actually none of your concern. This whole plebiscite thing is just downright offensive. As a heterosexual woman whose rights are enshrined because I engage in government-sanctioned vagina-related activities, I really want to apologise to my fellow Australians who are currently experiencing this excruciating postal deliberation over their human rights. My actually having a right to vote on someone else’s heart, on whom someone might love, or choose to spend the rest of their life with, is obscene. It’s sad for our country and for the LGBTIQA community that their rights have become a matter of a conscience vote. Their rights are hinged on other people’s opinions on who they are. It’s cruel. I can’t see how my opinion, or anyone else’s, should even come into it. I opened the envelope and looked at this very simple piece of paper that asks my view on marriage equality by simply saying YES or NO. I almost cried when I saw it.

How can someone’s life be reduced to two boxes on a page? I am voting on a human right. A vote that will be informed by prejudice and religious bigotry. A vote informed by homophobia. A vote informed by fear. Senator Matthew Canavan, who recently resigned from the Liberal cabinet over his dual citizenship, told 1,500 people in Sydney on Saturday night at a launch for the Coalition for Marriage that thought crime would be punished by law. Here is a man who couldn’t even abide by the laws that apply to him as a politician lecturing the Australian public on ethics. He said the ‘yes’ side want to make it illegal to just express a different view about marriage, that is their agenda’. Um no, they just want to be able to get married if they want to. A lot of people – gay, lesbian, straight, transgender – may well choose to never get married. They just want the choice like the rest of us. The point is about giving someone an equal human right. A right that tells a person that they are valued, that their life choices are their own and won’t be used to limit the expression of their lives.

When you vote NO you tell our gay and lesbian community that they aren’t okay. You create a ghetto. Except it’s not in a street, it’s inside someone’s psyche. I have never understood homophobic people. For a group who profess to have disdain for the LGBTIQA community they sure spend a lot of time thinking about them. Worrying that the loving civil ceremony between Dave and Sean down the road might somehow devalue the 30-year marriage of Cyril and Edna Smith. They must have very little faith in their partners and in their marriages if they believe the only thing that sustains their values is that dykes and poofs can’t do it.

If I were PM I would make opposing same-sex marriage a crime. Being a right-wing poof-hating bigot should be against the law. I guess when those favourite Aussie pastimes such as poofta bashing became illegal those nasty god-loving poofta-hating heteros had to find another way to get the boot in. To kick those queers to the kerb. What kind of double-speak is Canavan employing by saying that by giving people a basic human right denies his mates their rights to have a verbal queerbash? Is that how they define freedom? Freedom to hate? The LGBTIQA community haven’t come out and had a go at our shitty choices. And hey, nearly two of our nice heterosexual marriages ends in murder every week, thanks to Mr Straight Bloke killing his wife. That’s how good we are at marriage. Clearly this is a heterosexual institution that’s worth safeguarding. As far as I see it this isn’t a plebiscite about marriage equality, it’s an idiot audit. NO voters need to go back to the 1950s where they belong, back to the good old days of white supremacy and the oppression of women. And stay there.

There should only be one box: YES. We are not just voting YES or NO. We are voting LOVE or FEAR. And every good Christian knows that God is Love, or so they say, so how can they vote NO? Love is all there is. Choose LOVE. Say YES.

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  1. Somebody should tell Senator Matthew Canavan that it’s too late. Thought crime is already prohibited in Australia, under his government. Look at Polly Tommey.

  2. 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Love your words on this too Mandy.


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