SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: AUSTRALIA VOTES YES
Former Shepparton student and singer-songwriter Chelsea Harrington said she was relieved at yesterday’s ‘‘yes’’ vote, but felt it was not time to celebrate yet.
Ms Harrington a music teacher, lives with her partner Hayley Trounson and their three-month-old daughter Harper in Bendigo.
She said the campaign for equal rights was about more than just the right to marry.
‘‘It’s never been about whether or not we can get married, it’s about the legal rights that come with marriage — the legal, financial and medical rights,’’ Ms Harrington said.
‘‘If one of us was to pass away without those rights, we would have to go through lawyers and spend thousands just to prove our status.’’
She said Harper was born after two years of IVF treatment on August 28 — just after enrolments closed for the postal vote on same-sex marriage.
‘‘I was openly against the vote — as a teacher and working with young people, I was worried about the effect on them and the negative things they might have to hear and go through,’’ she said.
She said while yesterday’s yes vote brought some closure, it was not the end of the process.
‘‘I don’t think it’s over yet. The popularity contest may be over, but I’m a little bit worried about what these proposed bills might mean,’’ she said.
Ms Harrington said she and Hayley had no immediate plans to marry.
‘‘Our priority is still on our family. It’s a relief, but not a celebration. We’ll celebrate when it’s passed into law,’’ she said.
Elderly beat youths
The same-sex marriage survey was expected to have been the ballot that drew in younger voters, but it was the oldies who clearly wanted to have their say.
Despite being a voluntary exercise, the postal survey drew 12.7 million responses or 79.5 per cent of eligible voters.
Almost 90 per cent of people aged 70 to 74 responded, making them the highest group to participate, while 25 to 29-year-olds were the lowest at 71.9 per cent.
However, the youngest age group — 18 to 19 years — at 78.2 per cent showed the highest participation among age groups under 45, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed. Female participation at 81.6 per cent outshone males at 77.3 per cent.