The co-director of the Yes Equality campaign, Gráinne Healy, told Australian MPs that Yes Equality campaigners needed counselling after receiving abuse
Vying for Australia to opt out of a plebiscite (referendum) on marriage equality, Dr. Gráinne Healy, the co-director of the Yes Equality campaign, has come forward with information that Yes Equality campaigners received abuse and hate speech and had to have counselling.
Although a recent poll in Australia found that 62% of voters are in favour of same-sex marriage, a plebiscite could cost Australia as much as AU$525m.
Describing the experience of holding a referendum in Ireland and all of the derogatory comments targeted at campaigners, Dr. Healy explained that the experience was “brutal”. In a letter to all Australian MPs, Dr. Healy wrote:
“The ‘no’ side posters which declared that ‘every child deserves a mother and a father’ were deeply hurtful and upsetting for LGBT-headed families as they passed the posters on lamp posts and billboards across the country – explaining to our children that they were OK and trying to hide the posters from them was awful for LGBT parenting families.
“Likewise, some LGBT canvassers who were out asking for rights for themselves suffered greatly from the hateful comments they heard on doorsteps and in train or bus stations while canvassing,” Dr. Healy said.
Australia are expected to have a vote on marriage equality in February, but the Yes Equality co-director cautioned against the damage that such a campaign will have.
“As a civil and human rights issue of equality, as a matter of family equality and as a matter of equality for our sons and daughters and our friends and workmates – legislation to introduce marriage equality is what is needed in Australia and those who support marriage equality rights must move to see that legislation introduced as quickly as possible and the proposed divisive plebiscite should not take place.”