WA votes for same-sex marriage survey, with second-highest state Yes vote in Australia
West Australians have overwhelmingly voted in favour of same-sex marriage, returning the second highest Yes vote of any state in results of the national postal survey.
Out of 801,575 votes returned in the state, 63.7 per cent of registered voters indicated Yes, with 36.3 per cent voting No.
The result was behind only Victoria, which recorded a 64.9 per cent Yes vote. The ACT posted the highest Yes vote of any territory, with 74 per cent.
Datawrapper – how WA voted in SSM survey
Datawrapper – SSM vote state-by-state
‘We’re going to win’
For Neil Connery and Geoff Bishop, they don’t want special treatment — just equality.
The couple were among about 1,000 people who flocked to Northbridge Piazza to see the results come in live at 7am.
“Relieved, happy, ecstatic, glad it’s over. We’re going to win!” Mr Bishop said.
“It’s peace of mind for me. We are finally going to be treated equally,” Mr Connery added.
The Mandurah couple have been together for 30 years and were married at the British Embassy in Perth in 2015. They were thrilled at the prospect of their marriage being recognised by their own country.
“Australia is about to recognise us as a couple. Our marriage is no longer going to be invisible,” Mr Connery said.
The result carries extra significance with Mr Bishop having been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“Geoff has stage four prostate cancer and he has been fighting it for four years,” Mr Connery said.
“There’s no doubt about it, we have been discriminated against in hospital before. Hopefully no more.
“We don’t ask for special treatment, we ask for equality, no more than that and no conditions. Please get it done.”
Both men shed tears as the results were read out.
Survey revealed a ‘dark side’
Mr Connery said the strong support for same-sex marriage evident in the survey’s results was overwhelming.
He said while the process had been full of positive experiences, with strong support among the gay community, it had also meant some very negative experiences.
“I’ve been amazed at how much the gay community has pulled together through this process,” he said.
“The dark side has also come out and it’s actually given it a voice that it didn’t have before.
“It brought out an ugly side and I think there’s some healing to do before we can move forward with this.
“It’s taken us backwards as well as forwards.”
MP may not respect result
WA Liberal MP Rick Wilson would not guarantee he would vote Yes to same-sex marriage legislation when it is tabled in Parliament, instead reserving his judgment until the final bill is presented.
His O’Connor electorate had the lowest Yes vote in WA, with 56.2 per cent of respondents voting for the change.
Mr Wilson is now considering abstaining from a vote in Parliament, saying he would like to see the bill drafted by Senator Dean Smith include more protections for people opposed to same-sex marriage to be able to air their views publicly.
“What I will say is that I won’t be voting no,” Mr Wilson said.
“If I choose to abstain because I feel that there is not enough protections or otherwise in a final bill, then that’s not stopping the bill.
“The vote will go ahead with or without me.”
But not all MP’s who backed the No vote were opposed to the final result.
Ian Goodenough tweet
Federal member for the WA electorate of Moore, Ian Goodenough, was one of the Government’s staunchest opponents of same-sex marriage, throwing his support behind a rival bill that would have enshrined “expansive protections” for so-called religious freedoms if same-sex marriage was made legal.
The bill, which was rejected by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, would have enshrined anti-discrimination provisions for certain groups opposed to same-sex marriage.
In the survey results released today, Mr Goodenough’s electorate returned one of the highest Yes votes in WA, a result he promised he would reflect in his vote in Parliament.
‘The result we prayed for’
Anglican priest Father Chris Bedding said the result was a great day of excitement for Yes lobby group Australian Christians for Marriage Equality.
“This is the result that we prayed for,” he said.
“We worked for a Yes vote and we worked against those really negative and hurtful Christian voices out there, and we wanted to say a voice of inclusion and welcome.
“We as Christians wanted to say Yes not just to marriage equality but yes to the LGBTI community.”
When asked if churches would move quickly to begin marrying same-sex couples, Father Bedding said the transition would be carefully considered.
“Churches won’t be rushing into marrying same-sex couples,” he said.
“But we are looking forward to blessing and praying for those who have a civil marriage, and all the LGBTI people in our churches we want to celebrate when they do get married.”
Couple eyes wedding plans
Anna-Marie Masterson has been with her partner Jo Hockey for nearly 16 years and the pair have been engaged for 14 of those.
Ms Masterson — who was among the crowd at Northbridge Piazza as the result was announced — said she had not expected to feel quite so emotional.
“It was just electric,” she said.
“People were crying and hugging and kissing — I still have tears coming down my face.
“I suppose it’s about acceptance. You suddenly feel accepted.”
She said wedding plans would get underway as soon as legislation was passed.
“The people have spoken, and now the Government needs to get on and do the job.”
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- WA returns Australia’s second-highest Yes vote for same-sex marriage
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