Stawell's show of love after nation says yes to marriage equality

LOVE: Stawell residents Krystal Cameron and Evelyn Beale celebrate a historic day for the nation as Australia votes yes to marriage equality. Picture: Peter Pickering
LOVE: Stawell residents Krystal Cameron and Evelyn Beale celebrate a historic day for the nation as Australia votes yes to marriage equality. Picture: Peter Pickering

Stawell resident Evelyn Beale burst into tears after it was finally made public that the majority of Australians voted yes to same sex marriage on Wednesday.

“They were very happy tears,” she said.

“I called my partner straight away and she got out of work and we were there just crying together over the phone.

“I said we are one step closer now.”

A total of 61.6 per cent of voters said yes, overcoming the 38.4 per cent of people who voted no in the survey.

Ms Beale, who has been in a relationship with her same-sex partner for almost 10 years, said it was a wonderful feeling to know they would soon receive the same rights as heterosexual couples. 

“My partner and I had a commitment that regardless of the outcome we would still love each other and be committed to each other,” she said. 

“Now we don’t have to pretend anymore, we can recognise equal rights.”

HAPPY DAYS: Wednesday will forever be a special day for Krystal Cameron and Evelyn Beale and the LGBTI community. Picture: Peter Pickering

HAPPY DAYS: Wednesday will forever be a special day for Krystal Cameron and Evelyn Beale and the LGBTI community. Picture: Peter Pickering

Wednesday’s outcome was close to the heart of another Stawell resident, Liz Harrington, whose daughter and step son both identified as gay.

“It is a very personal subject to our family,” she said. 

“Both along with their partners have faced and still face many hidden battles just for their rights as human beings.

“They have not been given a choice in society as heterosexuals have, instead at every bend in the road having to find the courage to be strong and true to themselves.

“You may not understand everyone's situation but for a moment walk in someone else's shoes and imagine being told you can't marry the one you love – How would that feel.”

Ms Harrington said the yes vote was not just about marriage, but also about human dignity.

“It is about equality as everyone deserves the same rights –  To live,love and be happy,” she said.

“It is time to change – From a Mother and Father who love all of their children.”

Chair of Grampians Community Health Rainbow Committee Gemma Beavis said she was “super happy” with the result and that it would play a key role in the mental well-being of the LGBTI community. 

“It means they can feel more supported by their communities,” she said. 

“We will be discussing with our LGBTI clients what this means to them and ways we can support them, but it is a really good outcome.”

Voters who said yes in the Mallee stood at 54.3 per cent, while 45.7 per cent preferred no – 78,290 voters in the electorate participated in the survey. 

Mallee had the 120th highest level of support for same sex marriage out of 150 federal electorates.