In the coming weeks, the Australian Parliament will finally legislate in favor of same-sex marriage — but only after a process which traumatised many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australians, sent shock waves through families, and cost a small fortune.
Update, March 5: Nova Scotia Justice Minister Lena Diab announced this morning that time restrictions will be removed from the Limitations of Action Act.
There were homophobic posters and TV advertising campaigns which implied that a “yes” vote would lead to homosexuality being actively promoted in Australian schools.
The day after the vote, one Queensland senator, Murray Watt, spoke of watching “yes” volunteers call potential voters: “I will never forget the look of rejection and shame they felt every time they struck a voter who was intending to vote “no” against their own equality and against their own worth as an individual.” It seems bittersweet to celebrate a victory that has involved so much pain.
And yet the pain and the pleasure have been wrapped together.
The strange method of putting the vote to a mail survey, chosen for all the worst reasons, has delivered a result so emphatic, and so widely embraced, that it may be a tipping point in Australian politics.