Gladstone gay community fears over future
IN LIFE, all you need is love.
The Beatles had a hit song by the same title and members of Gladstone's LGBTIQ community, Ben Norris, Kerrie Milton, Kath Boyd and Kristel Kelly, believe a bit more love for their community would be far better than a plebiscite on same sex marriage.
Although they wouldn't pretend to be spokespeople for every LGBTIQ person in Gladstone, they agreed that a plebiscite would unleash a whole heap of hate which would be hurtful, discriminatory and could put young lives at risk.
Ms Boyd said if a plebiscite was to go ahead it would not matter how secure someone was with their sexuality because "it still hurts that people hate you that much".
But with talks between the government and the opposition party in Brisbane yesterday coming to nothing, the same sex marriage plebiscite is likely to fall over, all but guaranteeing a nasty debate in Parliament where legislation for the plebiscite will be defeated.
Prior to yesterday afternoon's revelations, Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said he was "pretty keen" for the plebiscite to go ahead, despite not being in favour of making changes to the Marriage Act to allow same sex couples to marry.
However, Mr O'Dowd said "when it comes to Parliament, I'll be voting with the country" and not how his constituents in Flynn vote.
"It's a monumental change and it is so important that the nation speaks on this and it shouldn't be left to politicians to make the call," he said.
A study conducted by The University of Melbourne found that the Flynn electorate ranked in the top ten for areas where people most opposed to same sex marriage.
But despite being warned by friends and family before moving to Gladstone 18 months ago, Mr Norris said he was surprised Flynn ranked so highly, given his happy experiences here.
"These people could attack me if they wanted to but they haven't," he said.
"No good can come of the plebiscite because we can't trust people to behave themselves," Ms Kelly said.
Although Ms Milton believed same sex marriage was a very important issue for her, she said there were more important issues to deal with and Australia should just get on with it and allow same sex couples to marry.
"Why should I be any different to any other Australian?" She said.
The group agreed that people needed to educate themselves before voting and that if young people needed help to go to places like Headspace and Roseberry Community Services, as well as the Facebook pages Gladstone Pride and Gladstone LGBTIQ. "I think love is very hard to find and (we) should be able to celebrate that," Mr Norris said.