When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced the contentious plebiscite bill to the parliament today, he argued those who oppose same-sex marriage — and who will assumedley be voting against it — should not be labelled homophobic.
“The argument against the plebiscite is, basically, that people can’t be trusted to have a civil conversation,” he said.
“That insults the Australian people. That disrespects the Australian people.”
The comments quickly drew ire on social media because, honestly, what would you call denying a couple their basic civil rights because of their sexuality if not homophobic?
The sentiment is one echoed throughout the LGBTI+ community, who fear that a lengthy campaign in the lead up to the public vote will only serve to further alienate them.
One young Australian perfectly articulated that fear on Facebook yesterday.
“One night I was walking home alone in the dark. I hear someone yell, ‘Where the fuck are you going dressed like a faggot?’,” writes Canberra’s Cody Smith, in a post that’s now been shared more than 3,400 times.
“There’s four of them. I run, legitimately afraid for my life … They get a vote,” she writes.
Cody then lists all the other people she’s encountered whose votes will determine whether or not the same-sex marriage plebiscite will pass.
The parents of her first girlfriend, who bullied their daughter to the point of suicide?
They’ll be voting.