'It's truly gut-wrenching to be told you are not equal'
"IT IS truly gut-wrenching to be told you are not equal and to be cast as though you are not good enough."
Toowoomba's Simon Ford has described what it is like for gay people to not be treated equally when it comes to many things, especially love.
He said the non-compulsory postal vote for marriage equality disappointed and worried him.
"I am worried for our community having to be further ostracised and marginalised through this non-binding opinion poll," he said.
"The likes of Australian Christian Lobby will begin an aggressive campaign against the LGBTI community to attempt to take Australia back to the 1900s and force this idea of what a 'normal' family is.
"I know there is a freedom of speech. However there is also a freedom to be treated equal.
Do you support same-sex marriage?
This poll ended on 31 August 2017.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"If you have read the degrading comments all over social media, you will understand how this will only increase the isolation, the probability of mental illness and most likely increase the rate of suicide, particularly for those vulnerable young teenagers and adults.
"I certainly hold the firm belief that there shouldn't be a vote on the equal treatment of persons under the eyes of the law."
Although Mr Ford isn't in a relationship at the moment he hopes to one day get married.
"We're humans too, just like you. So I will be marrying the man I fall in love with and I plan to raise children in a beautiful loving, supportive and respected home," he said.
James Walker works at a hospital in Toowoomba and said the postal vote was a very ineffective way to settle the same-sex marriage debate.
"It is a complete waste of $122 million and not the way this should be settled. As a nurse I know there are so many different areas, in the health sector alone, that the money could go towards," he said.
"I would love to get married one day and a lot of people say that it is just a piece of paper but it is so much more than that. There are many legal implications that come along with it especially when it comes to your health.
"A civil ceremony doesn't give you the same rights as marriage and we just want to be treated equally."
Mr Walker came out as gay to his family 14 years ago and said he was so lucky to have such a supportive network surrounding him.
He said if he hadn't already come out, the postal vote along with the horrible comments floating around on social media would make him terrified.
"It is so depressing seeing all the nasty comments from so many people," he said.
"There are many uplifting comments but the negative seem to outweigh them.
"If you are someone struggling to come to terms with your identity, seeing those comments can be shattering and have a very dangerous effect on people."
Both Mr Ford and Mr Walker encourage residents to enrol and vote yes.
"I hope that an overwhelming majority of voters vote yes, and I hope that people who are opposing marriage equality take the time to understand our history and how love isn't different due to your sexuality," Mr Ford said.
"I believe a yes vote will firmly proclaim the 'fair go' attitude that we all have as Australians and prove to the rest of the world that we accept everyone for who they are, despite their age, race, gender, nationality, sexuality or religious beliefs."
People have until Thursday, August 24 to enrol to vote or update their details at aec.gov.au.
Everyone registered on the electoral roll will have ballot paper sent out to them and will have until November 7 to send them back.
The result of the survey will be announced on November 15.
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