So it’s been a while. I try to only write when I have something to say.
Most of my readers would know that Australia is spending $122m on a ridiculous non-binding survey of the Australian Electoral Roll (That won’t actually wind up including lots of people overseas).
At 2:15 on Thursday 7 September, 2017, the High Court ruled that the survey could go ahead.
I’ve already done a bit in the lead-up to this whole thing – I spent an entire weekend walking my suburb asking people to enrol to vote. I asked every person I had even the most casual conversation with (outside of my working hours – our clients pay for my expertise, not my political needs)
But there was one person I was quite worried to ask, worried that I already knew what the answer would be, and that my sister and I might forever have a little bit more distance between us. And then I considered the price of not knowing, of always wondering whether may fiancé and I were being judged, and I realised that I really didn’t lose much by asking – that not knowing was just about as hazardous to my family relationships as knowing it was a “no” vote. And at least if I knew I could try to change it, right?
But asking that question of family was terrifying. It was coming out all over again. I was learning if I would ever be fully comfortable at a family gathering ever again.
Fortunately, I was wrong. That concern, in this case, was based on assumptions I’d made about my sister and her church – I’m glad I asked because it’s clarified something for me that I should have asked more directly about years ago. But I’m pretty sure that if I expand my family circle from “immediate” just one or two layers and asked my parents’ siblings, their partners, and their offspring how they plan to vote… Well I expect that a few would vote “no”. But without asking I face the prospect of never knowing if the family member I’m having a conversation with at Christmas voted to prevent me from fulfilling my promise to marry my partner.
Meanwhile, my partner’s grandmother is falling out with family who are posting hateful and hurtful homophobic things.
That’s the legacy of this secret ballot. Division, distrust, and suspicion.
If you know someone gay, please, don’t make us ask you how you’re going to vote – make sure we know.