The Australian people are hungry for a resolution to the marriage equality debate.
That is the major takeaway from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ estimate yesterday that three-quarters of eligible voters have already taken part in the postal survey on same-sex marriage.
That is a higher rate of participation than what was recorded at Great Britain’s Brexit polls or in the Irish marriage referendum.
It would be very easy for the survey’s architects to use voter turnout as evidence of a successful democratic exercise.
But just because a majority of people have submitted their surveys does not mean the government should be forgiven for forgoing its obligation to legislate, nor does it wind back the grief LGBTI Australians have suffered during the divisive campaign.
Those wounds are not easily mended.
Regardless of the result, same-sex attracted and gender diverse community members will spend the remainder of their lives knowing a government once sanctioned a vitriolic debate about the legitimacy of their relationships, all to appease an extremist faction in its own ranks.
A vote in parliament could have been a powerful statement in support of love and equality. Instead, the survey process has given licence to hate and fear-mongering.
It is young people who have worn the brunt of the ‘no’ campaign’s most fallacious claims.
Children of same-sex couples have seen their loving parents labelled unfit for duty. The ‘no’ campaign has also argued marriage equality would somehow see “radical gender theory” instituted in schools.
These farcical, offensive arguments are a far cry from the “respectful debate” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised.
What we are left with, however, is another generation of bruised LGBTI people, embittered with their country’s leaders and scared of how they’re viewed by the community.
Mark Kearney, journalist