I rise today to talk about an issue close to my heart. The federal government's postal vote on marriage equality is playing out exactly as the Greens feared. Over the last week we have seen a sharp increase in homophobic rhetoric and divisive language directed at the LGBTIQA+ community. In turn I have seen a steady but predictable rise in reported anxiety, depression and stress in LGBTIQA+ members of my community, especially amongst youth.
For some this is the first time they have truly feared being themselves in public and the first time they have been afraid of holding a lover's hand or sharing a kiss. I will not stand by and let those opposed to equal rights make others feel they are worth less. I will not stay silent while the federal member for Menzies derides the real love shared between many LGBTIQA+ couples in Eastern Metropolitan Region. The vast majority of Australians support marriage equality. I will not let anyone be made to feel less just for being who they are and loving who they do.
To the LGBTIQA+ community in Eastern Metropolitan Region, as your representative and as your ally, I stand with you in this challenging time. Love will win, and we will be choosing love and voting yes.