More than 100 prominent Australian authors including JM Coetzee, David Malouf and Helen Garner have put their names to an open letter urging Australians to vote yes in the same-sex marriage postal survey, in what they called “the interest of fairness, equality and social reform”.
Peter Rose, editor of Australian Book Review, contacted a host of names from Australia’s arts community following the high court’s decision earlier this month to allow the federal government’s postal vote to go ahead. With voting now well under way – and a decisive lead currently held by the yes side, according to a Guardian Essential poll – the literary journal has published the letter to its readers, signed by names including actor and writer Magda Szubanski, ballet dancer and author of Mao’s Last Dancer Li Cunxin, and the authors Geraldine Brooks, Michelle de Kretser, Kate Grenville and Christos Tsiolkas.
“One very good, and unexpected, result of this public discussion is that those of us who knew ourselves to be one with the family of LGBTQI now feel more openly a part of that union,” said author Alex Miller. “Before this business, the togetherness was implicit; now, at least here in this community, it is a stated reality. And stronger, I think. People have stood up.”
“This debate is about equality – no more, no less,” said Rose. “Homosexual acts are perfectly legal in Australia. Gays and lesbians (tax-paying and law-abiding citizens) seek the same right that applies to heterosexuals: the freedom to marry their partners if they so choose.”
Pointing out that this right already exists in countries including Britain, Germany and the US, he added that “gays and lesbians serve in our defence and police forces, they educate our children and work in our hospitals, they entertain us and illuminate our lives through literature and the performing arts”.
“The time for distrust and discrimination is over,” he finished.
The results of the survey will be announced on 15 November.