HAPPY DAYS: Jayson Gillham (right) married Sid Mohandas in London recently and is chuffed that Australia has returned a Yes vote.
HAPPY DAYS: Jayson Gillham (right) married Sid Mohandas in London recently and is chuffed that Australia has returned a Yes vote. Gerard Collett

The survey that split a nation

IT WAS the announcement the LGBTI community had been waiting for and conservative Australians were dreading.

On Wednesday the results of the marriage equality survey were announced, with 61.6 per cent of the country in favour of marriage equality.

Nearly 80 per cent of all eligible Australians responded to the non-compulsory survey, showing how passionate the nation was on the issue.

Reverend Rob Rodgers from the Dalby Baptist Church said if the law does change, you can expect the social fabric of our country to follow suit.

"My reaction (to the survey) was a little disappointed, I was obviously in favour of traditional marriage but the nation has spoken,” Rev Rodgers said.

"There's no doubt things will change, but as to what will change we'll have to wait and see.

"Obviously it will change the definition of marriage and family, so what that means only time will tell.”

Rev Rodgers added he doubted the Baptist Church would ever embrace marriage equality.

"I can't speak for the whole organisation but I doubt very strongly that we would ever perform a same sex marriage ceremony.”

The Maranoa electorate had the highest No vote percentage in Queensland, sitting at 56.1 per cent, which didn't come as a shock to Rev Rodgers.

"I understand we're a conservative community, so holding onto the traditional and time honoured definition of marriage is something we value... so it doesn't surprise me.”

While some Australians are disappointed with the outcome, the majority are over the moon.

That includes Dalby man Jayson Gillham, who married his partner Sid Mohandas overseas recently.

"I'm pleased and relieved that the Australian people have chosen equal marriage rights for all Australians, and that they saw through the fear-mongering of the No campaign,” Mr Gillham said.

"It's a significant survey because it shows that Australians are on the whole socially liberal, hopeful and forward-looking.

"The government is now compelled to act on the survey result to legalise same-sex marriage as soon as practicable.”

Although Mr Gillham was chuffed with the result of the survey, he isn't impressed with the process.

"I'm disappointed that Australia has taken so long to catch up with the rest of the world,” he said. "However, the people of Australia have generally been in support for quite a while and I'm more disappointed that we had to go through the long drawn out postal survey campaign on what should have been a simple parliamentary vote.”

Mr Gillham added that now is the time the nation needs to stand united with those that have felt marginalised for so long, as working together is the only way forward.

"I am worried that discrimination, bullying and hate crime in the region may increase, and I think there is an obvious need for rural and regional support services for LGBTI+ people and their families.

"We all need to come together and support each other.

"The good thing about the way the postal survey has panned out in rural Queensland is that more and more gay people now feel able to come out and tell their story within the community and be heard.”

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