An open letter to those who support gay rights but who'll still be voting 'no'.

The following is an anonymous piece submitted to Mamamia in response to Katherine Harper’s column: ‘As a 30-year-old woman, everyone expects me to vote ‘yes’. But I won’t be’, published by the Sydney Morning Herald on August 23, 2017.

Here’s what she had to say.


I’m a lesbian, I have a girlfriend I’d love to marry some day, and I totally understand why you’ll be voting “no” in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

You’re a liberal person, not particularly religious; you even have a gay friend (OK, you were introduced to the gay friend-of-a-friend once at a party and you can’t remember their name, but that’s basically the same thing) – you’re totally different from Tony Abbott, Bob Katter, the Australian Christian Lobby, and their distasteful ilk.

You wouldn’t portray gay people having children as another Stolen Generation. You would never endorse the “Stop the Fags” posters spotted this week in Melbourne. You think Penny Wong’s pretty cool.

You’re definitely in favour of gay rights. You’d just prefer that they have fewer rights than you. You know that gay couples getting married would have no material impact on your life as a heterosexual person, but you’d have to get through every day knowing that the word “marriage” was no longer yours alone. And that’s something you just can’t accept.

You’re not homophobic – you just don’t want gay people ruining your perfect heterosexual institution with our loving, committed relationships.

You don’t want LGBT or questioning young people to see these relationships being legitimised by the law and grow up thinking that they too could have a family of their own, rather than learning to hide and to hate who they are.

You’re not against gay couples having children – you just want to make sure that their children never forget that this country considers their parents’ relationships, and their families, to be lesser than those of heterosexual people. There’s nothing homophobic about that.


But, above all, what really bothers you about the same-sex marriage debate is that gay people seem to actually care about whether or not their fellow Australians think they should be allowed to get married. Reacting with hurt and anger to the vitriol that has been legitimised by this survey is a step too far, and it’s those gay people who won’t take such abuse quietly who have convinced you to vote “no.”

I think we can all agree that there is no difference between powerful public figures claiming that the legalisation of same-sex marriage will destroy Australian society as we know it, and a gay private citizen tweeting that this statement is offensive.

LISTEN: Mamamia has a message for Malcolm Turnbull. (Post continues after audio…)

Besides, no one has sought you out to make their case to you, personally – and you haven’t been bothered to read (or watch) any of the thoughtful, respectful articles and speeches from the LGBT community and our allies that have been making headlines for the past weeks, months, and even years.

It’s not that you’re homophobic, you just expect gay people to prostrate ourselves before you and plead for your “yes” vote. We understand.

So, next month as you select “no” on your survey paper and return it to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, you’ll take comfort in the knowledge that you’re certainly not a homophobe. You simply believe that you, a straight person, deserve to retain a legal status that is above that of a gay person.

And there’s nothing homophobic about that… is there?