Same-sex marriage postal Survey: Elation as Border gay couples finally feel acceptance in national vote

LOVE IS LOVE: Amanda Lovekin and Michelle Evans have been together 22 years and are thrilled to get married in Australia. Pictures: MARK JESSER
LOVE IS LOVE: Amanda Lovekin and Michelle Evans have been together 22 years and are thrilled to get married in Australia. Pictures: MARK JESSER

Tears, cheers and a huge sense of relief was felt though the Border’s LGBTI community just after 10am Wednesday.

The eight-week marriage equality campaign had been hard on many, forced to listen to the opinions of those who did not believe they had a right to marry.

For Amanda Lovekin and Michelle Evans, the postal survey result was the perfect anniversary gift, delivered exactly four years after they legally married in the US.

Australia has never recognised that union, so they will now start planning to remarry in front of their children and others who could not celebrate with them the first time.

“It would mean the world to have our family there,” Ms Lovekin said.

“We’re just over the moon, I think it would have been very hard if it had been a no, especially today.

“We’ve always tried to make sure our relationship was recognised.”

The couple was among a big crowd that turned out to WayOut Wodonga’s event at Gateway Health as results were revealed, letting out a roar of approval when they heard 61 per cent of Australia had voted yes.

WayOut Wodonga marriage equality support officer Sheridan Williams

WayOut Wodonga marriage equality support officer Sheridan Williams

Marriage equality support officer Sheridan Williams had mentally prepared for a “no” result to protect herself from disappointment, but said she was “ecstatic”.

“I feel vindicated. It’s been a lot of hard work and luckily Australia has shown that they are on our side - it’s amazing,” she said.

“With all the negativity going around it was so easy to walk down the street, look at people and go ‘I don’t know if you accept me’ and that was a really alienating feeling.

“Now I can walk down the street and go, I know 61 per cent of Australians accept me and want me to get married to someone I love.”

Ms Williams said it was important for the LGBTI community to continue supporting each other and remain respectful of the minority who still did not agree.

SUPPORTER: Albury's St Matthew's Anglican church Father Peter MacLeod-Miller raised an equality flag outside the church on Wednesday. Picture: SHANA MORGAN

SUPPORTER: Albury's St Matthew's Anglican church Father Peter MacLeod-Miller raised an equality flag outside the church on Wednesday. Picture: SHANA MORGAN

Within hours of the verdict, Albury's St Matthew's Anglican church Father Peter MacLeod-Miller was receiving text messages asking the the church to hold same-sex weddings.

Church leaders had not had that discussion yet, but Father MacLeod-Miller was on side.

“I’m looking forward to my religious freedom to conduct same-sex weddings at St Matthew’s … rather than just religious control,” he said.

“A lot of people have been misled.

“A lot of people who voted ‘no’ are really good people, it’s just they’ve been given the wrong directions, as they did when we thought the world was flat.”

Father MacLeod-Miller said he felt jubilant and relieved by the survey result.