"Being a ‘Gay-No-Voter’ was Worse Than Coming Out" Say LGBTI Conservatives – Hope 103.2

“Being a ‘Gay-No-Voter’ was Worse Than Coming Out” Say LGBTI Conservatives

A surprising turn in the marriage debate, has been the emergence of an LGBTI ‘No’ group —and they’ve been bullied as much as straight people for their views.

By Clare BruceSunday 5 Nov 2017NewsReading Time: 3 minutes

Above: Our Voice Our Vote campaigner, Wilson. (Image: Facebook)

A surprising turn in the Australian Marriage Law debate, has been the emergence of a group of LGBTI ‘No’ campaigners—and sadly they’ve been bullied as much as straight campaigners for their views.

The Brisbane-based group, ‘Our Voice Our Vote’, carries the campaign slogan ‘You Can Say No’ on pink-and-blue banners, and has been conspicuously supported by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Some of the group’s members say ‘coming out’ as a gay no-voter, has been the ‘toughest time in their lives’. One spokesman said in a video – in which his face is blurred out for protection – that the experience was even more gruelling than when he first came out as gay.

“You get attacked online, you get people making comments about your mental health, which is something I never expected to hear from these people that preach tolerance,” the man said. “I’ve heard people say that I only believe the things that I do because I come from a broken family, that I have internalised homophobia, that I hate myself, I’m suicidal, I’m depressed, all kinds of absolutely vile comments.”

He said the aggressive tactics of some Yes campaigners – particularly in the student politics world – had actually changed his mind about how he would vote.

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“I’ve had a lot of exposure at university and in my personal life to the Yes and the No campaigns, and I’ve changed my mind,” he said. “I’ve seen the bullying, the abuse, the absolute vile comments that come out of the Yes side, and it is no longer a movement that I can support or take seriously.“

Another group spokesman, named Wilson, pointed out that it makes no sense to label him and his fellow campaigners as homophobes.

“I’m gay, I’m not a homophobe: I love gay men,” he said. “You can’t call me a homophobe just because I oppose same sex marriage.”

In a video of a demonstration staged by Our Voice Our Vote on the grounds of the University of Queensland, Wilson is seen shouted down by crowds of heckling students as he speaks.

“We’re here today because we support marriage as it has always been, between one man and one woman,” Wilson says. “I support what marriage really is, and I’m gay.”

He says there are thousands of gay Australians opposed to same-sex marriage, who are concerned about the long-term effects that could play out in society, but whose voices are being buried by Yes campaigners. Tony Abbott visited one of the group’s campaign meeting, where he spoke about his belief in the importance of a Judeo-Christian foundation to Australian law.