Opinion: Vote yes for equality, no for all the noise

It's a simple question: Despite all the noise, the skywriting, the texts and the hype, the issue is quite simple.
It's a simple question: Despite all the noise, the skywriting, the texts and the hype, the issue is quite simple.

The question is simple.

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? 

But the noise, the efforts, tactics, mistakes of those for and against with the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey have confused and enraged. 

For those who know members of the LGBTI+ community, who know them to be kind, loving, capable people, the answer would be yes. 

However, for their beliefs and experiences, there are those who believe in the status quo.

Both can exist and be debated when there is respect.

However, there has been a lot of anything but.

There has been bullying on both sides, from both the fringes and smack-bang centre.

There has always been the true bullying from prejudice that LGBTI+ members are known to suffer, and have struggled against for what must seem lifetimes.

But as a result of this postal survey there have been the shock jocks and headline chasers. 

Reports of people let go from work.

Reports of physical and verbal abuse.  

This survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is unusual for our nation. 

Participation in the whole $122 million effort is not compulsory. 

The United States and many other countries are used to campaigns that must drive voters to ballot boxes.

The question on whether same-sex couples are allowed to marry is not an economic concern, it’s not vital for national security. 

It’s a peace-time issue, a question for the betterment of society.

This survey asks Australians to act. A survey the Turnbull government requires for guidance. 

A survey that has left many LGBTI+ members angry because of the spotlight cast on them. 

But a survey both Yes and No campaigns are championing views to prevail.

Tolerance is critical. 

For all the No’s skywriting, they're campaigning.

For the Yes's texts, they're campaigning. 

And for those social media feeds choc-a-block with same-sex marriage stories. It is all I am reading (and posting, much to my friends’ delight). It's because I know gays and lesbians in loving relationships, who have made lifelong commitments and want them recognised by law.

As someone who loves being married – for the most part (my wife agrees, funnily enough) – who am I to deny?

However, it is a rare opportunity to consider such an important question on its merits.

We should seize it.

I read one woman selected no, and said receiving a Yes text helped shape her vote.

I found that sad. 

It felt like she did not take time to think about the issue itself.

Consider your values.

Think about others.  

Have the conversation with family and friends.

​Find ways and settings for discussion, which are comfortable for both those with views that are similar and views that are differing.   

Read the texts or, if below the same atmosphere, the sky.

Do it with respect. 

Fill out your ballot, stuff it in the mail box.

Chris O'Leary is a Fairfax writer.