In order to achieve a YES vote in the Marriage Equality postal survey, we need support from people of all ages and from all across Australia. That’s why it’s important that you talk to your friends and family and ask them to join you in voting yes.
Lisa recently did just that. In aid of the YES campaign, the 40-year-old phoned her grandmother while cameras were rolling.
Watch the beautiful (and now viral) video above, and you’ll see Lisa’s grandma has agreed to vote ‘yes’. Here, her partner Hayley shares their beautiful love story in the hope that you might, too.
Lis and I have been together for over nine years. Like many couples, we were friends first which we honestly believe is what gives our relationship such strength today.
We are from different worlds and can attest to the expression “opposites attract”.
When I met Lisa, she was not widely out to her family. Coming from a conservative background, this was something she was always rather nervous about doing, especially with her beloved Gran. In my case, I had been bullied then forcibly “outed” in high school and had already had the uncomfortable conversation with my parents in my late teens (it did not go well).
Over the past (almost) decade together, we have fought numerous battles to get to where we are today. Although not all our family members are supportive, we do have a wonderful village around us who love and accept us just as we are, so we consider ourselves very fortunate.
We have watched nearly all our brothers and sisters, cousins and extended family get married, an extraordinarily bittersweet thing to do. On the one hand you are bursting with pride and love as you watch them walk down the aisle; fighting back the tears and lump in your throat thinking you would give anything to know what it’s like to be on the other side. You cultivate a particular smile to paste over the hurt of debates about place-settings and first dance routines when you’d simply like the right to be recognised as a couple.
As time marches on and politicians (again) dangle the equality carrot in front of us, hurt gives way to anger. Yet another person complains that you should “just have a civil ceremony” or that there are so many more important things for the government to spend time and money on, and every one of these conversations is like a punch in the guts. This is not about ceremonies, gift registries and napkin rings; this is about equal rights, to receive the same recognition and respect as any other.
It’s hard to put into words how frightening it is to imagine not being able or allowed to arrange the funeral of your lifelong love, to be forced into a process where you have to prove the status of your relationship because you cannot produce a marriage certificate. This can take months and you may not be listed as next of kin, meaning that you are not automatically entitled to anything the two of you have worked your whole lives for; all it takes is for your partner’s family to disregard you and your relationship is worth less than nothing.
The day our “pro equality” prime minister announced the postal survey was the last straw for us. We have spent years living with the fear and the hurt and the anger of being second-class citizens in our own country, and now we are told that in a non-binding non-compulsory opinion poll on our family people can (and have, and will) say anything they like without consequences.
Friends often comment how good Lis and I are for each other. I have taught her that staying silent and polite will never create the change you want to see in the world, and she has taught me that you don't need to jump up and down screaming loudly to make it happen either. When Rainbow Families put the call out for volunteers to participate in the Australian Marriage Equality #RingYourRellos campaign we knew we had to be involved, and Lisa knew who she needed to call.
Grandma is a wonderful, kind woman who has always shown me a great deal of love and respect. But she is deeply religious, and visits church multiple times a week since losing her husband several years ago. We always knew Gran loved us, we just never knew which way she would vote.
What you see on the video is very much real. It is not a rehearsed piece, it's just raw emotions on both sides. I think that's why so many people have connected with it. It's a beautiful grandmother loving her beautiful granddaughter. Overwhelmingly, the feedback from the video has been amazing. I have seen a strength and self-belief grow in Lisa that I never knew existed. I am so extraordinarily proud of her.
A message for Malcolm Turnbull about the same-sex marriage poll. (Post continues below.)
Grandma, on the other hand, is flabbergasted. The day after it was released, Lis went to her house and they watched the clip together. She is not a social media user -- in fact, she has never owned a computer before -- so she cannot fathom how so many people (at the time it had 10,000 views) would take the time out of their busy days to watch the video and further, to write such nice things about her. Imagine how she feels now that it's over 800,000! She is just so happy to know that Lis feels supported and loved. For her, love is and always will be, THE most important thing in life.
For us, the silence from family members yet to offer any acknowledgement is deafening, but for the first time in our lives, it's no longer crippling.
We love each other. Very much. We hope by watching this video, people who are perhaps undecided, will see that we are real people, with real emotions and no hidden agendas. This is not a vote about any of those horrid excuses talkback shock jocks have frightened you with. It's just about equal rights for everyone in our community – for your family, and for ours.
Please complete the postal survey and post it back. Taking 10 minutes out of your life to do a bit of admin, has the power to completely change ours.
Please. Vote yes.
For more information about how you can help the YES campaign, please visit the website here.
For more on voting 'Yes'...
- The postal vote for marriage equality is happening. Here’s how you can do your bit.
- A reverend, a pastor and a priest: Meet the Christians voting ‘yes’ to marriage equality.
- Aussie celebs pledge to vote 'yes' for marriage equality.
The award-winning podcast Mamamia Out Loud is doing their first live show. There will be laughs, disagreements and you can meet the hosts afterwards! We’re also donating $5 of every ticket price to Share The Dignity so grab your friends and come along to share the love and laughs, get your tickets here.