Youth hope for 'yes' while concerned about violence

SUPPORT: Youth community activist Jack Budgeon hopes Wednesday's same-sex marriage result will be an emphatic "yes". Picture: Paul Scambler
SUPPORT: Youth community activist Jack Budgeon hopes Wednesday's same-sex marriage result will be an emphatic "yes". Picture: Paul Scambler

When the highly anticipated same-sex marriage survey result is handed down on Wednesday morning, community activist Jack Budgeon will be trapped in school exams. 

The 17-year-old student has been a regular face in the marriage equality marches across the city since the survey began in September.

“I’ve campaigned so strongly – because I strongly believe in equality and equity,” he said. 

Mr Budgeon will be locked-up in a Launceston College exam when the survey result comes in, and he is anticipating a resounding “yes”.

“I’m feeling very hopeful of a strong result,” he said. 

“Depending on how the result falls – it will be a day of celebration for LGBTIQ families. 

“It’s going to be a day where people who have been shut off from celebrating, will hopefully see a positive outcome.

“I wish them luck with their future weddings.”

Mr Budgeon’s Launceston College classmate Moira Seward identifies as queer. 

She is nervous about a fatal blow being delivered to the “yes” campaign if it does not win the vote.

“If we don’t it pushes us back about 20 years,” she said of equality legislation.

Ms Seward believed the survey had empowered people to abuse homosexuals, causing gay people to approach the survey result with trepidation.

“A lot of people are just being cautious as well because there may be violence against LGBTI youth in a town like ours,” she said.

“I’ve had abuse thrown my way and I’ve come to expect it.

“If it [the survey] comes back with a positive result – it feels like it will give our community more validation, safety and awareness – and a sense of equality we’ve been missing for so long.” 

While optimistic for a “yes”, Mr Budgeon noted the possibility of an alternative result.

“There’s a high number of elderly people who have returned their vote,” he said.

The young advocate said while Wednesday could be a momentous day, particularly for the younger generation of Australians, he would welcome the end of a “cruel” campaign.

In the event of a “yes” result, Mr Budgeon called on the government to “act straight away, don’t delay  – put forward legislation to changing the wording of the marriage act”.

Wednesday morning’s announcement by head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, David Kalisch, is the culmination of weeks of campaigning by both sides.

The Australian Labor Party hope to be holding a celebratory gathering in Launceston as the results are revealed, while the Coalition for Marriage Tasmania team will be meeting in Hobart to reflect on the marriage poll.

Are you concerned about a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ result?

ReachOut Australia chief executive Jono Nicholas said the survey could produce problems in the community.

“Regardless of [Wednesday’s] result, some Australians will be disappointed with the outcome, so please be respectful of how others may be feeling,” he said.

“Trolling or gloating will only continue to divide the community.

“If you’re anxious about the result, then take steps to ensure you’re in a supportive environment, or consider stepping out for some fresh air or just taking a minute.”

If you need to talk to someone, visit the ReachOut forums