OPINION: It was expensive, controversial, and at times traumatic, but Australia has finally made the move in the right direction.
The rainbow flag flew around the world as moments of sheer joy and elation were captured after Aussies voted in favour of same sex marriage.
More than 12.5 million of voted, and officially all states and territories recorded a vote in favour of change.
A moment, not only for our friends across the ditch but everyone in the LGBTQI community around the world.
It was a moment for the ones who have been incarcerated. For the ones who have been labelled as criminals. For the ones who have endured an injustice in a fight to simply be themselves.
But the win was bittersweet.
Australia made a decision to spend millions on a non-binding survey.
A survey that has not only been a waste of money debating what many consider to be a basic human right, but one that has humiliated so many.
The LGBTQI community has been put on a stage of judgment. They have been forced to experience some of the worst of humanity. They have been shrouded in “vote no” signs in the sky. They have been beaten up, spat on, and put in awkward positions with their own family and friends. The survey has perpetuated division.
They have been forced to fight a battle Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described as a victory by an ‘overwhelming majority.’ It wasn’t.
The winning margin of 61.6 percent isn’t overwhelming by any means. It’s comfortable.
And yet despite the win, it could mean absolutely nothing. Parliament still has to vote on it, and, although it seems likely it will pass, some politicians have come out to say they would vote no, despite their own electorates swinging the other way. It’s a shame it has to go through Parliament after the people have voted.
So I ask this, was it worth it?
I am overjoyed and happy for Australians. Equally, I am frustrated and frankly, pissed off they had to go through it, to begin with. It fed a harmful rhetoric and made people beg for the privilege of equality, and the right to love whoever they want.
The Australian Government put them through this forced-process because they couldn’t do their job, to begin with.
Which brings me back to my original point.
Australians, I couldn’t be more proud of you for voting yes.
I’m sorry you had to feel like you needed to officially legitimise what makes you, you.
But that onus is on your Government, and their inadequate lack of leadership, not on you.
Yes, the battle may be over for now, but the war for human rights still goes on.
Aziz Al-Sa'afin is the social media commentator on the AM Show.