Victory at a cost as same-sex couple say vote's tainted
BUNDABERG couple Claire Cooper and Michelle Marriott have always dreamed about the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The duo celebrated their wedding last year alongside family and friends, but said their perfect day was bitter-sweet due to the fact that Australian laws don't recognise their commitment to each other.
Now the postal survey is over, with a majority of Australians saying "yes" to change the laws, their dream of equal legal recognition of their marriage looks much closer to a reality.
But Ms Cooper said what should have been a celebration of the yes vote had instead been tainted by weeks of homophobic speech and propaganda.
How did your love story begin?
Michelle and I met in 2013, we got engaged three years ago on November 15 and celebrated our wedding day on May 28, 2016, with friends and some family in Bundaberg.
Why do you want to see same-sex marriage legalised?
We would like to see our marriage legally recognised so that we have the same rights as every other married couple in the country.
Not only for ourselves and each other, but for our children as well.
When the postal vote was announced, what did you think about the idea of it?
The announcement of the vote was disappointing.
We knew that it would not be a binding vote and the money could be used for other things.
How has the whole debate made you feel?
The plebiscite and the associated campaigning has brought a lot of anxiety for myself and many others.
It has made our personal lives a public discussion.
It became an invitation for homophobic speech and propaganda.
When the yes vote was announced, what went through your mind?
It is encouraging to hear that 62 per cent of the country are in support of marriage equality. Let's hope the politicians listen.
Were you expecting it?
Despite the negativity in some media and advertising in regard to the "no" campaign, the result wasn't unexpected.
The way the news was announced seems to have caused some confusion though, as many people think that today's yes vote meant same-sex marriage is now legal.
This is incorrect and still needs to be passed by parliament.
What do you hope happens now?
Obviously, I hope that this is the end of the debate and full marriage equality will happen soon.