Same-sex couples and Bendigo LGBTI community need our support

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Same-sex couples and our LGBTI community need our support now, more than ever.

As you will read in today’s Bendigo Advertiser, the same-sex marriage debate is painful – it is having a real and deep impact on many in our community who simply want to exist as others do.

Free of judgement, free of pain, free of fear – and free of prejudice.

Being treated equally and with respect is a human right. Treating others with respect and affording them those rights, is the right thing to do. It’s not complicated, so let’s not make it so. 

We understand it is confronting for some, because it challenges their own beliefs. And they are entitled to live their lives as they choose. But that entitlement does not allow those who oppose same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships to dictate how others should be able to live their lives.

Too many lives are damaged by prejudice – and yet, in asking our country to vote on whether same-sex attracted couples should be allowed to marry the person they love is asking all Australians to make a judgement call on the very existence of same-sex attracted people.

They’re being asked to make a judgement call on who should be allowed to love, and whom they should love. 

As David writes in today’s Bendigo Advertiser, ‘each time we load Facebook, it is gut wrenching to have our relationship of 16 years dissected. We are treated as a danger to children or morally wrong. New Zealand where we married, did not need a hateful campaign, but had a parliamentary vote.

‘We think of all the distractions this is, the 122 million, the spike in mental health services and hate crimes as the Irish experience is repeated. Our crime is to exist so it seems.’

For too long, the prejudice that exists in many corners of Australia has robbed others of relationships, community, a sense of belonging - and love. 

We have not kept our LGBTI community safe – from others, or themselves. We continue to lose too many lives because of ongoing prejudice inflicted on those who simply do not deserve to be treated as lesser people. And in the past week, we have seen that prejudice rise to new levels and affect too many lives.

There is no need for this debate. Two people who love each other, should be able to – and they should have exactly the same rights as others ready to make a commitment.

Nicole Ferrie, editor