Today, as Australians huddled together to watch the results from the marriage equality postal survey, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced love does in fact win.
Of the nearly 13 million people who voted, 61.6 per cent of Australians voted Yes for marriage equality. News feeds were an array of rainbow and colour and love and support, relief palpable, emotions high.
But for all the smiles are wide, the bitterness lingers.
This was a success, but a unnecessary one nonetheless. Because today, for all we celebrate love, awareness of the opposition – the almost four in 10 – still lingers. We must remember that a result like this doesn’t undo months of damage to the LGBTIQ community born from hateful sentiments given deliberate and public platforms.
“The whole thing was f*cking grotesque… and I sort of worry that if we vote Yes, everyone’s going to forget what a disgusting, miserable thing [the government] did.
Listen: Australia voted yes, so what next? (Post continues…)
“I’ve been called a paedophile a lot lately. Just a lot. Every day comes to me and calls me a paedophile.
“Honestly, before this, for three years before that, I would’ve got three bad messages in my Twitter feed. As soon as this thing started, everyday now I am getting called a pedophile or a faggot or people who will say it’s not okay to be gay, and then use gay suicide as data to show that is bad.”
Thomas says no matter what the result, this survey has given “permission for people to be haters”.
“Even if it comes back at 40 per cent, to have that number in your head, walking around, like four out of 10 people are actually homophobic.
“I’ve got really strong words from people, that I know what’s going on in their inner monologue. Even if we win it, it’s just shown to me how much incredible hate there is towards me, my brother and my friends.
“No matter what, you get a number of people and you know how much they hate you.”
For Mamamia's commercial editor Adam Bub, it's a sentiment he's all too aware of. However, Wednesday's result was a victory, and for that he will still celebrate.
"I think firstly it's important not to undersell the victory. 61 percent 'YES' is a beautiful result – and the fact that a 'YES' vote was the majority in 133 out of 150 electorates shows that marriage equality is something that touches Australians everywhere from country towns to the big cities, coast to coast. However, as a gay person, I do feel a bittersweet sense that when I walk down the street, in 2017, there are still people who cast judgment upon me for just living my life.