Marriage equality campaigners rejoice in majority 'yes' vote

"YES": Dubbo campaigners for the "yes" vote in the postal survey, Kerrieanne Nichols, Karen Payne, Kris Stevens and Bizzi Mason, meet. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
"YES": Dubbo campaigners for the "yes" vote in the postal survey, Kerrieanne Nichols, Karen Payne, Kris Stevens and Bizzi Mason, meet. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Dubbo businesswoman Karen Payne couldn’t hold back the tears when the reality of a majority “yes” vote in the Australian Marriage Law Survey hit home.

Earlier she had laughed and hugged fellow campaigners for marriage equality.

A group of women who have stuck out their necks in the name of “equal rights” came together on Wednesday morning.

The meeting followed the Australian Bureau of Statistics announcement that  61.6 per cent of eligible Australians had voted “yes” to changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to wed.

In a small room at the back of Ms Payne’s popular Local Coffee Co in Brisbane Street, the women spoke frankly about the survey and its impacts.

“I think the reason why a lot of Australians have participated in the postal vote is because they are angry,” Ms Payne said.

“They are angry with this government for not passing this reform and they are angry with the expenditure on the postal vote.”

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Kris Stevens said many Australians who voted “yes” would be “anxiously awaiting the outcome of our politicians’ votes in Parliament”.

“I would like to see a lot of marriages along with Christmas celebrations before the end of the year,” she said.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Carolyn Rowe, Kerrieanne Nichols, Karen Payne, Bizzi Mason and Kris Stevens applaud the majority "yes" vote in the survey. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Carolyn Rowe, Kerrieanne Nichols, Karen Payne, Bizzi Mason and Kris Stevens applaud the majority "yes" vote in the survey. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Kerrieanne Nichols spoke of the need for “yes” voters to remain “humble”.

“There are people  who are not going to be happy with the result but I think if we remain humble and really respectful and show the government we really do want this, we can get it across the line,” she said.

Ms Nichols, co-owner and operator of Quality Inn Dubbo, said the survey would profoundly affect the gay community.

“This helps so many of our younger generation,” she said.

“You know today we have stopped suicide. We have stopped so many negative things by this yes vote. This is amazing. There is so much acceptance from today.”

Later on, Bizzi Mason had the group in stitches when telling of a 94-year-old client who wanted to be a “pagegirl at my wedding”.