Same-sex marriage survey result brings Marton to tears

IT'S TIME: David Swan and Rick Marton, a couple for 12 years, watch in Launceston as the same-sex marriage survey 'yes' result is revealed. Pictures: Scott Gelston
IT'S TIME: David Swan and Rick Marton, a couple for 12 years, watch in Launceston as the same-sex marriage survey 'yes' result is revealed. Pictures: Scott Gelston

For several agonising minutes, marriage equality campaigners stood silently in Launceston, waiting for a result that would change lives across Australia.

At the Yes Campaign’s Launceston party – inside the office of MHR Ross Hart – dozens of people gathered to watch the Australian Bureau of Statistics deliver the result. 

“Yes” was the choice of 61.6 per cent of Australians and 63.6 per cent of Tasmanians.

Since September, Rick Marton has been the unofficial face of Northern Tasmania’s marriage-equality campaign.

The convincing “yes” result represented a bittersweet result for the young entrepreneur, who acknowledged he underestimated “how hard the no campaign was going to go” and would not predict the survey outcome.

“I certainly wasn’t trying to work out how it was going to fall today,” he said. 

“I wasn’t preparing for it either way.”

Beside Mr Marton as the results were revealed was his partner, Dave Swan.

Holding hands and shedding tears, the couple hopes to have the opportunity to marry once legislation passes the parliament.

In the Commonwealth electorate of Bass, 61.7 per cent of people voted 'yes'.

In the Commonwealth electorate of Bass, 61.7 per cent of people voted 'yes'.

But their sense of joy also came with disappointment about the survey.

“We can’t forget this process has potentially lost people their lives, while we're happy that we’ve got through a process it means that there has also been a toll and there’s been a toll on a lot of people,” Mr Marton added. 

“While we’ve got the validation from the vote, I think it wasn’t the right process.”

He called on politicians to make the change, law.

“This is what they asked for, we’ve given them the result, now they need to act on it,” he said.

Mr Marton also revealed the personal anguish and anger he experienced during the survey campaign.

“I don’t think there has been a day I haven’t cried at some point,” he said. 

“The moments I cried was when someone reached out and showed me support. 

“Sometimes it was a really touching moment – a message from my dad.”

In the middle of Mr Hart’s office, Mr Marton stood crying as he recalled that simple message from his father on Wednesday morning.

“It just said, good luck today, love you, son,” Mr Marton recalled.

“Love has won.”

For Mr Marton, in some ways, Wednesday’s result drew parallels with Tasmania’s 1997 decision to decriminalise homosexuality.

There were celebratory scenes in the office of Bass MHR, Ross Hart.

There were celebratory scenes in the office of Bass MHR, Ross Hart.

“I had a girlfriend at the time, it didn’t mean I didn’t know but it did mean I was trying not to be,” he said of his sexuality. 

“I was trying not to be because it was a crime.

“What it does show is that the law really determines the validation.

“If the law says you’re not equal, how can you blame the rest of the country for having that perception?”

Launceston retiree Fay Gerrasoni said Wednesday's result was a "very, very important element in moving towards equality".

"It's a great day to celebrate," she said. "I hope we've solved it."