The first couple to marry under the Australian Capital Territory’s same-sex marriage laws believe the voluntary postal vote is far from ideal.
Joel and Alan Player wed on December 7, 2013 but within days their marriage was formally annulled after the High Court struck down the ACT’s same-sex marriage laws.
“We had a commitment ceremony in 2009 as originally we thought that was all we’d be able to get,” Alan told Fairfax Media.
“When the ACT brought in their Marriage Equality Act that was a dream come true. We were actually able to marry and have the same recognition as anybody else.
“Then it was devastating having that taken away from us.”
The north Canberra couple said while a plebiscite was not ideal it held a promise of delivering something concrete within the marriage law debate – a clear picture of all Australians’ views.
Joel said, for all its faults, the postal survey gave the public a chance to have a say and that was a small step forward.
He said boycotting the survey didn’t achieve much for anyone whether they be part of the gay community, supporters of the gay community or any community voting either yes or no.
“Australians are getting fed up with the fact that they can’t have their opinion on the matter,” Joel said.
“It’s an opportunity for people to understand it is their voice, their way of being heard. Do the right thing and vote based on your conscience.
“The preferred answer is yes,” Joel quipped.
Although their marriage was annulled just days after the event, in their eyes the couple are still very much married.
“I don’t care what any government says to me,” Joel said. “I love my husband and I am going to stand up and fight for my marriage.”