Supporters of marriage equality have vowed to continue campaigning after the High Court gave a green light to the same-sex marriage postal vote.
Campaigning for the “yes” vote started almost immediately after the decision was handed down on Thursday afternoon, with supporters handing out pamphlets outside the High Court and neighbouring Flagstaff railway station.
But the verdict has stirred up real concerns among members of the LGBTI community who feared the debate had given rise to intolerance they had not seen in decades.
Wil Strack, 52, was among the campaigners outside court and said she was “very disappointed with the decision”.
“If it has to happen then now we need to go full swing into the campaign,” the Footscray woman said.
“It impacts on me, I’d like to marry my partner. We had a ceremony last year with our family and friends because we got tired of waiting.
“Now that we know the decision, we just really need to get on and campaign.
“We’d like it to be legal, the kids would like it to be legal. We’re expecting another grandchild next year and we’re sure our grandkids would like it to be legal as well.”
Preston woman Lee Gibbens said the decision was “like a death to the LGBTQI community” and said the debate had enabled a degree of homophobia.
While waiting at a bus stop last Friday, Ms Gibbens said a group of men in a car abused her and called out “f—ing dyke’ while stopped at a level crossing.
“I didn’t realise how I felt about it until later,” Ms Gibbens said.
“I was emotional and my housemate hugged me and I said, ‘I haven’t had that since I came out in the 80s’.
“I can handle it, I’m a mature-aged woman, but I worry about the kids and the parents that are in same-sex marriages, whether that be two men or two women, that have kids.”
Ms Gibbens said she wanted to be able to get married one day and described the High Court’s two-day hearing as “nasty” at times.
“I’m doing this for myself and my community and for the next generation. This is wrong. It’s absolutely wrong.”
“Malcolm Turnbull should be ashamed of himself.”
‘Yes’ campaigner Nicole Fedyszen is straight but was busy distributing pamphlets on the grey Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a sad day for equality, all we can do now, despite having to do this survey, we’re going to do it right,” she said.
“And every inch of free time I have is going to be spent pushing the ‘yes’ vote, reminding people to vote.
“It affects all of us personally. We want to live in a society where we all have equal rights, that’s the Australia I want to live in.”
This article appeared online at The Age and in print September 8.