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Australia says yes, but Maranoa says no

Lisa Machin travelled around Australia with her Maranoa rainbow in tow, to encourage conversations about same-sex marriage.
Lisa Machin travelled around Australia with her Maranoa rainbow in tow, to encourage conversations about same-sex marriage. Contributed

AUSTRALIA has voted yes to same-sex marriage with 61.6 percent in favour and 38.4 percent voting no.

Out of 150 federal electorates, 133 recorded a majority yes response, and 17 divisions recorded a majority no response.

There were just three no-voting electorates in Queensland, with Maranoa topping the state's poll with 56.1 percent voting against same-sex marriage.

Maranoa covers more than 730,000 square kilometres and makes up a whopping 42 percent of Queensland.

Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said he would use his vote in the House of Representatives in-line with his electorate's result.

Mr Littleproud's personal decision was to vote 'no' but he has always said he'd listen to Maranoa and vote according to the majority.

"In Maranoa, I believe the debate was respectful and considerate,” he said.

"Regardless of the result, we stick together in the bush. If there's a flood or fire - no matter your background or lifestyle, we're all standing side-by-side filling sandbags or volunteering to help the whole community,” he said.

"Australians have spoken and resolved the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry, it's now up to elected representatives to organise the legislation and I'll play a constructive role to make sure it meets society's expectations.

"Concerns about the protection of religious freedoms were consistently raised with me so, as the Maranoa MP, I will make sure my electorate's strong voice will form part of this further debate.”

ROMA

Anything But Straight is a not-for-profit community group established to help overcome the social and emotional isolation experienced by LGBTI people in the Maranoa.

Group director Mitch Greig said he was disappointed to see a no vote from the electorate he calls home.

"David Littleproud said he believed a no vote could be as high as 80 percent for his electorate, so it's good to see it wasn't that high and was separated by less than 10,000 votes.”

Mr Greig said he felt reasonably positive the same-sex marriage bill would pass in parliament.

"I think perhaps once it goes through parliament there's going to be a fair bit of to and fro, it affected a lot of people leading up to the vote and there could be a change in the community once it passes,” he said.

"I think the postal survey had a negative effect on a lot of LGBTI people, it brought out things in families and friendships because all of a sudden you had to have an opinion,” Mr Greig said.

"My grandma was the only person in my family who voted so you feel disappointed and not supported.

"It has an effect on the rest of your life because you feel like you lack that family support.

"It's a really big thing for me and a lot of other people didn't see it as that,” Mr Greig said.

"I'm glad this is finally happening, but before we start counting our chickens it needs to pass through parliament.”

CHINCHILLA

Jane Zerbst was 27 when she came out as a lesbian in Chinchilla, where she has spent most of her life.

"There is probably a part of me that's disappointed at the electorate of Maranoa for voting no, but you have to look at the bigger picture view and it was the outcome I was hoping for,” Ms Zerbst said.

"You can't legislate awareness and understanding, there is still work to do.

Early in the debate, Ms Zerbst spoke to the Chinchilla News about what a yes vote would mean to her.

"I think so far within the Chinchilla area, the positivity and support I have seen after I spoke to you guys (Chinchilla News) definitely came through and it's pretty overwhelming.”

Ms Zerbst said the outcome was a step forward.

"We just have to keep going from here.”

DALBY

Lisa Machin recently moved to the Western Downs and decided to post her "yes” vote in style, by carrying a huge rainbow around town.

Ms Machin said she got some strange looks from the locals, but she chose to do it to share her personal view and start a conversation.

"It's disappointing, but not altogether unexpected that Maranoa voted no,” she said.

"To be honest, you can't wipe the smile of pride off my face that my country voted yes.

"What's been encouraging through this whole thing is the many Maranoa residents I've spoken to who have no problem with others marrying the person they love.

"Once interracial marriage was illegal and this issue belongs in that same archaic space,” she said.

Ms Machin said she believed the plebiscite had been a waste of money.

"The one good thing to come out of it is that Aussies who've had to deal with homophobic rhetoric their whole lives now have the knowledge that millions and millions of Aussies embrace them and support them,” she said.

"No matter how Mr Littleproud votes, Australians have shown they will not accept discrimination against our LGBTI community.

"I couldn't be more proud of our country today.”

Topics:  chinchilla dalby david littleproud mp maranoa roma same sex marriage postal survey


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