More than yes and no considered in debate

Keep it respectful

THERE IS no place for hate speech or violence during the Australian marriage equality debate. 

I accept that our democracy permits and supports robust and healthy debate on the issue of marriage equality, and at times the debate, comments, opinion pieces and political statements will contain passionate, descriptive and evocative language.

I do not expect any individual or group within the community to draw on a discourse of violence which diminishes or targets political figures or opposing individual’s opinions.

The National Mental Health Commission issued a statement warning the debate had heightened discrimination against LGBTIQ people, making them especially vulnerable. 

They are correct; ReachOut has experienced a 20 per cent spike in online traffic. 

That’s around 17, 000 extra requests for help.

While ReachOut and Orygen have made their concerns about increased demand public, half-a-dozen of Australia's other biggest mental health organisations have entered into crisis talks over the last three weeks I can’t help but remember Gandhi’s famous phrase: “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”

Now more than ever, let us make our light shine bright.

De Murray, Lucaston.

Lifeline 13 11 14.

Marriage Debate

I READ with great interest the comments made from both sides of the debate regarding same-sex marriage. 

I have noted that many of the comments made by the "yes" campaign insinuate that all "no" voters seemingly are Christians. 

Many comments are related to what the Bible says and they say the "no" voters are not heeding the word of God in showing love etc. 

I am a Christian and I have spoken to lots of people who were against same-sex marriage who are not Christians. 

"No" voters don't have to be Christians to vote "no" and "yes" voters can't be Christians if they vote "yes" because same sex marriage is against the Word of God.

God's word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and does not compromise to suit worldly trends. 

You are either for it or against it. 

You can't sit on the fence.

Stephen Thompson, Relbia.

Vote No Flyer

ERIC ABETZ has recently endorsed the flyer "it's okay to vote no". 

This document intentionally conflates issues such as "freedom of speech" and sex education with the same-sex marriage debate. 

He provides no evidence for the negative consequences he argues have resulted from marriage reform in "the very few countries that have changed marriage". 

(Actually, 23 countries have done so). 

Further, his statement that "people are already being bullied for what they think" deflects attention from the years of social and structural discrimination that LGBTIQ people have faced. 

Indeed, 61 per cent of young Australian LGBT people still report experiencing verbal abuse, while 18 per cent report physical abuse (humanrights.gov.au). 

In conclusion, while it is OK to vote no, it is not OK to deliberately skew information to mislead the public.

Jane Baker, Mount Direction.