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Gay couple’s wedding wait

Deniliquin woman Georgia Henderson calls on Member for Farrer Sussan Ley to come out in support of same-sex marriage.

TYLA HARRINGTON August 1, 2014 3:52pm

Deniliquin woman Georgia Henderson plans to hold off on her wedding day until it’s legal to marry her partner, Melanie Penglis, in Australia.

This week Miss Henderson turned up the heat on Member for Farrer Sussan Ley to come out and publicly support gay marriage despite it being against the Federal Government’s stance on the issue.

Ms Ley recently said she wanted to hear directly from her constituents on the subject after results from a poll indicated 86 per cent of Farrer residents supported same-sex marriage.

The Pastoral Times also asked its Facebook friends if they support gay marriage. Twenty-three people were for gay marriage, one objected to it and one person suggested ‘‘deregulating’’ marriage altogether.

Miss Henderson proposed to her partner on the beaches of Castaway Island, Fiji on February 15.

Judging on her own experiences, she believes the majority of people in the Farrer electorate support same-sex marriage.

She also believes it’s time Ms Ley supports what she says is an equal right.

Ms Ley has previously stated she would not support the vote to introduce gay marriage.

Asked recently if the poll results changed her mind, she said: ‘‘If something (legislation) gets presented to us, I’ll consider it then and take the next step when the time comes.’’

Miss Henderson said people within Farrer ‘‘are quite open and supportive, or simply believe that as it does not affect them, they do not care’’.

‘‘My partner and I have always experienced support, inclusion and acceptance from this community, and quite often have had people — some of whom we don’t know — approach us with their support and encouragement for our relationship and marriage equality,’’ she said.

‘‘I would like to believe that Ms Ley would be honest and willing to support marriage equality, and any other topic for that matter if it represents the majority of views held by those in her electorate.

‘‘Unfortunately, what’s best for the people isn’t always what drives political decision making.’’

‘‘I believe that due to marriage being a human right, it should be the choice of the loving couple — regardless of gender or sexual orientation — to make the commitment of marriage.’’

Miss Henderson hopes it’s not a long wait until she can marry in Australia.

‘‘We’ll only marry once, and we’ll wait until it’s completely and equally legal in Australia,’’ she said.

‘‘Fingers crossed we won’t be waiting too much longer as marriage equality is inevitable.

‘‘We don’t feel different to any heterosexual couple, all we feel is love, trust and equity, which in the end is all it should really come down to when making the decision to commit to one person through marriage.

‘‘I don’t understand why our love does not deserve the same social and legal recognition gained from marriage, as does the love shared by a heterosexual couple.’’

Ms Ley said she was ‘‘happy to consider whatever people want to put forward but I really want to hear from people and talk to individuals’’.

She was presented the poll findings in a meeting with gay rights group Hume Phoenix a week ago.

‘‘I’m not saying the poll is right or wrong — I’m a politician, so I’m surrounded by polls all the time — but I try to get to the heart of the issues without polls,’’ Ms Ley said.

‘‘I think the best information I can get is by talking to people ... I’d rather have people talking to me than sit in my office looking at a piece of paper with numbers on it.’’

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