Dubbo man urges community to be ready to vote in same-sex postal poll

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Marriage equality was promoted at the 2016 Central West Pride March in Dubbo. A nationwide postal survey on the issue is set to get under way on September 12. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Marriage equality was promoted at the 2016 Central West Pride March in Dubbo. A nationwide postal survey on the issue is set to get under way on September 12. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS

A leader within Dubbo’s gay community is urging participation in the voluntary same-sex marriage postal survey even though he objects to it.

Nic Steepe is alert to the challenge to the $122 million nationwide survey in the High Court in early September.

He would prefer it succeed but wants to cover all bases.

“The postal survey is ridiculous, and we had this same conversation months ago regarding the plebiscite,” Mr Steepe said. “It will be hurtful to the LGBTIQA+ community, especially young people, and will be extremely decisive. I think people are still processing that we have to go through this, but I am sure that we will all stand strong, resilient and make our case as we have for years regarding our right to marry.”

The marriage equality advocate has advice for people confused or unsure about the survey. “If it does have to go ahead, it is important that you are enrolled, that your details are up to date, and that you encourage participation from friends, family and within your network,” he said.

This week the Australian Bureau of Statistics placed an advertisement in the Daily Liberal urging Australians to “express their views on whether Australian marriage laws should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry”. Eligible Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll will receive survey forms from September 12. The bureau is calling on Australians to enrol, check or update their details at www.aec.gov.au or get an enrolment form at any Australian Electoral Commission office or post office.

An information line on 18800 572 113 is operating seven days a week from 8am to 8pm. The roll for the survey will close on August 24.

The Coalition for Marriage, campaigning against changes to the Marriage Act, is also asking Australians to take part in the survey.

“Join the army of thousands of Australians campaigning to maintain marriage, say no to more programs like Safe Schools and defend freedom of speech and religion,” it states on its website.

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