Marriage Equality letters

I’ve actually been ill today, so I didn’t manage to write as many letters as I meant to.  I’m hoping to do a bit of blitz of Senators tomorrow, but I have covered some of the main suspects at least.  I understand that the Plebiscite is being debated in Parliament this week, possibly even this evening, so I went with emails rather than postal letters this time.

As usual, having written the letters, I find them entirely inadequate, but I’m posting them here for two reasons.  Well, one reason, with two parts.  The reason is, of course, that I’m hoping some of you will also feel inclined to write to your politicians, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.  Feel free to use these as a starting point – it’s easier to fix a bad letter than to write one from scratch, in my experience.

It’s also sometimes hard to decide that a letter is good enough to send, and that’s the other reason I’m posting these.  I want to write the perfect letter, which will cause politicians to realise, at last, that they have made a terrible mistake and should be doing things differently (ie, my way…).  In the real world, that’s not going to happen.  Or at least, not through me – I am definitely not that eloquent.  But at least part of this is a numbers game.  A letter that does not perfectly express what you want to say is still a letter in someone’s inbox, reminding them that another one of their constituents opposes the plebiscite.  And you never know – your letter of support to a politician who is doing the write thing may be the encouragement they need, or may provide them with an argument or phrase that they hadn’t thought of and can use to sway others.  But even if it doesn’t, every little bit helps.

You can find contact lists for all Senators and MPs at this link.  These include phone numbers, postal and email addresses, so pick the medium of your choice and go for it.

If letters are too hard write now, the ALP has a campagin ‘It’s Time for Marriage Equality‘, which is half petition, half tweet, and certainly worth a look.  The Greens have a similar campaign.  And Australian Marriage Equality have all sorts of actions you can take, depending on your time, energy and financial resources.

And if you just need a break from all of this, here’s a link I found earlier when I was looking (unsuccessfully) for some information about my local Member.  It’s the 404 page for The Australian‘s National Affairs section, and it is absolutely hilarious.  Enjoy!

Letters below the cut…

Email to Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister (via online form)

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to you to ask you to scrap the plebiscite and allow a free vote on Marriage Equality in Parliament.

The plebiscite is non-binding, and several Members of Parliament have already said that they will vote their conscience regardless of the views of their electorate. If this is the case, what purpose does the plebiscite serve, other than to delay what is still going to be, in effect a parliamentary conscience vote? I genuinely don’t understand this.

The plebiscite is expensive. Having worked and volunteered at a number of health and mental health-related non-profits in the past, I can think of so many places where $160 million could make a huge positive difference to people’s lives. Or it could simply be put towards the deficit.

But above all, the plebiscite is needlessly hurtful. When I married my husband, I didn’t have to ask the rest of the country for permission to do so. And because I’m straight, I’ve never had to worry that if I got sick or died, my husband might not be able to visit me or inherit the house if my family objected. I don’t have children, but I’ve never had people tell me that I’m unsafe to be around them, and I’ve never had to fear that if I did have children and my husband died, my children might lose their father as well as their mother, because he was not deemed to be truly their parent.

The plebiscite as it stands will not drive anything forward. It will simply provide a forum for people to express their fear, discomfort, or hatred of LGBTQ Australians. It too easily becomes a forum on their right to exist, and we already know the effect this will have, particularly on young people.

As Prime Minister, you have the opportunity to create a legacy. Let it be one of equality and justice for all Australians, regardless of who they love.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine

 

Email to Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition (Bill.Shorten.MP@aph.gov.au)

Dear Mr Shorten,

I am writing to you to urge you to block the plebiscite in Parliament, and to oppose any allocation of funding for advertisements, negative or positive.

I am afraid of the impact that this plebiscite will have on LGBTI Australians and their families. As this is Mental Health Awareness week, it seems timely to note that nine out of ten LGBTI people have experienced homophobic bullying, and 80% of this bullying occurs at school. This is an appalling statistic, and is almost certainly responsible for the fact that LGBTI people are three times more likely to experience depression than people who are straight and cisgendered (Source: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/face-facts-lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-and-intersex-people). I fear that the plebiscite will provide a renewed opportunity in which people can express their fear, discomfort, or hatred of LGBTI Australians – facilitating bullying under the guise of free speech.

I’d also like to thank you for your support of marriage equality. Because I’m straight, I’ve never had to worry that if I got sick or died, my husband might not be able to visit me or inherit the house if my family objected. I’ve never had people tell me that I’m unsafe to be around children, and I’ve never had to fear that if I did have children and I died, they might lose their father as well as their mother, because he was not deemed to be truly their parent. And when I married my husband, I didn’t have to ask the rest of the country for permission to do so. Too many of my friends do not have this luxury – which should be a right, not a luxury, in any case.

Please keep up the good work!

Yours sincerely,

Catherine

 

Email to George Brandis, Attorney General (senator.brandis@aph.gov.au)

Dear Senator,

I am writing to express my opposition to the Marriage Equality plebiscite.

While Turnbull has expressed a deisre to have a ‘respectful debate’ on marriage equality, this is difficult to envisage when we have already had a government minister comparing same sex marriage to marriage between a man and a dog, and the Australian Christian Lobby calling for a suspension of anti-discrimination vilification laws.   (I am a Christian, and the ACL definitely does not speak for me.)

I can’t help feeling that an argument that requires vilification of one’s enemies is a weak argument indeed.

Frankly, I am afraid of the impact that this plebiscite will have on LGBTI Australians and their families. As this is Mental Health Awareness week, it seems timely to note that nine out of ten LGBTI people have experienced homophobic bullying, and 80% of this bullying occurs at school. This is an appalling statistic, and is almost certainly responsible for the fact that LGBTI people are three times more likely to experience depression than people who are straight and cisgendered (Source: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/face-facts-lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-and-intersex-people).

I fear that the plebiscite will provide a renewed opportunity in which people can express their fear, discomfort, or hatred of LGBTI Australians – facilitating bullying under the guise of free speech.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine

 

Email to Peter Khalil, Member for Wills (Peter.Khalil.MP@aph.gov.au)

Dear Mr Khalil,

I am writing to you to urge you to block the Marriage Equality plebiscite in Parliament, and to oppose any allocation of funding for advertisements, negative or positive.

I am afraid of the impact that this plebiscite will have on LGBTI Australians and their families. As this is Mental Health Awareness week, it seems timely to note that nine out of ten LGBTI people have experienced homophobic bullying, and 80% of this bullying occurs at school. This is an appalling statistic, and is almost certainly responsible for the fact that LGBTI people are three times more likely to experience depression than people who are straight and cisgendered (Source: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/face-facts-lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-and-intersex-people). I fear that the plebiscite will provide a renewed opportunity in which people can express their fear, discomfort, or hatred of LGBTI Australians – facilitating bullying under the guise of free speech.

I’d also like to express my support for marriage equality. Because I’m straight, I’ve never had to worry that if I got sick or died, my husband might not be able to visit me or inherit the house if my family objected. I’ve never had people tell me that I’m unsafe to be around children, and I’ve never had to fear that if I did have children and I died, they might lose their father as well as their mother, because he was not deemed to be truly their parent. And when I married my husband, I didn’t have to ask the rest of the country for permission to do so. Too many of my friends do not have this luxury – which should be a right, not a luxury, in any case. Families deserve the security that comes with a legally recognised relationship.

I hope that when the time comes, you will vote for Marriage Equality in Australia.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine

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