LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
Judging by what I see on social media and in the paper, I am pretty certain if everyone voted on the same sex marriage survey, the outcome will be yes.
However I have concerns that there are many people who won't vote because "it doesn't affect me".
This effects everyone, and here is why:
In life we have in-groups and we have out-groups.
In the last decade I have observed homosexual people to move away from out-groups status.
If you think it doesn't matter about a marriage certificate that signifies a union of two people, then at least consider this. If the result is a 'no', we are going to see a rise in mental health problems among these people who have done no wrong, because they will feel abandoned by society, and pushed into the out-group once more.
This movement will inevitably empower people despising or fearing them to rise up.
We've already seen how a vote can change social behaviour.
For example in America after voting in Trump, there has been a rise in white supremacists acting out, and the Brexit vote was followed by a wave of racial attacks.
Is that what we want for Australian society?
If the vote is 'yes', a handful of extreme Christian lobby groups will be a little bit annoyed, but no one will be hurt.
These groups will not have mental health problems, and after a period of time they will move on and find value in their lives, because these groups have an incredible amount of social support from their congregations and God's love.
I'm a Christian, and I will vote 'yes'.
I pray every day and thank God that human beings are blessed with the ability to love and use complex brains to find ways to overcome famine, rid the world of disease and procreate when circumstances do not allow it.
I am referring here directly to the ability to use embryos in artificial insemination and IVF treatments.
And in response to some people who are voting 'no', and who believe that unconventional conception or child rearing is a failure; I am utterly disappointed that anyone who believes in 'loving thy neighbour' and the word of Jesus, would say no to two people who are willing to provide complete love for a child of our next generation, when there are millions of people in the world, who are heterosexual, take child-making for granted, abandon or abuse their children and have a legal option to get married.
Any child that is brought up learning about love, and what love can offer through protecting and creating resilience, is going to be OK.
How can we teach children about love if we vote for a society where love can't be celebrated or acknowledged by innocent people that want to be together?
What are we saying to the next generation if we vote no to same sex marriage?
Today's natural family is the past's unconventional family.
It is time to use intelligence and move with the time.
People who want to vote no talk about how same sex marriage fights against nature, but then if that is so, then so does fighting against famine and disease.
Human beings change and develop with times.
Same sex couples, single fathers and mothers, divorcees, widows, foster parents, grandparents, unmarried parents, step-parents (and more) represent today's conventional parenting.
They provide the biggest and deepest love for their children, because they truly want it, as well as the husband and wife creating a child.
Please don't not vote because you think it doesn't affect you.
It is a great shame this burden has been put on your shoulders.
This should be a decision made by our representatives in politics.
If the vote was put to them, the impact of the 'no' on our innocent gay and lesbian communities would be far less, but because this has been handballed to society to vote, the result speaks volumes, as it has done in America and the United Kingdom.
Finally, thank you to Gippsland Times management for changing the policy on advertising, and agreeing to name people paying for adverts that may indirectly hurt people in our community.
I really wanted to complain to the author of the advertisement (Gippsland Times 22/8), but at the time there was no name or contact.
To the author, I would like to say I'm a woman, who has married a man, I give to my community and I follow the message of God.
We have been trying for a baby for a very long time, and have not experienced the 'flash of light' yet.
I would like to ask him, if I go ahead with my IVF treatment, will my family no longer be a natural family?
My answer is this. God gave me the instincts to be a mother, he gave humans the intelligence to overcome radical issues such as fertility problems, and so it is my fate to become a mother, whether it be through IVF or adoption.
Whenever or however it happens, I hope the society I live in accepts us as a family, or we will feel heart broken.