Marriage equality debate fury in Wagga

Lisa Saffery and Sarah Williams.
Lisa Saffery and Sarah Williams.

Lisa Saffery’s partner died before she could wed the love of her life. 

It is her hope other couples will not have to endure the pain of an unfulfilled promise. 

It is a pain shared by Wagga’s gay and lesbian community, who this week slammed a proposed marriage equality postal vote as “the coward’s way out”. 

Make it happen: Lisa Saffery with her son, Yarrul Saffery-Williams and the late Sarah Williams.

Make it happen: Lisa Saffery with her son, Yarrul Saffery-Williams and the late Sarah Williams.

Lisa Saffery said a postal vote was designed to fail. 

It follows the senate’s block of the same-sex marriage plebiscite this week. 

In response, the coalition announced it would use the Australian Bureau of Statistics to launch a $122 million postal vote.

If the High Court does not oppose the proposal, it will be launched in September.

But Ms Saffery said only passionate people would vote. 

“You’ll have highly religious people and homophobic people voting against the LGBT community,” Ms Saffery said. “We will probably see a “no” vote in Wagga, which wont reflect the way most people are feeling.”

The mother-of-three was in a “wonderful, loving and beautiful” relationship with her partner, Sarah, when tragedy struck. 

After five years together, Ms Saffery’s partner was diagnosed with a terminal illness and her dying wish was to leave the world and her family married.

“It was heartbreaking to not be able to fulfill that wish,” she said. “My daughter made a little marriage ceremony for us but it was too late for Sarah.”

With other couples out there in similar situations, Ms Saffery said she hoped a decision would be made soon.  

She said politicians were paid good money to make leadership decisions. 

“If they don’t have the guts to make this decision then they are cowards,” Ms Saffery said. “People should be able to make their own decisions as adults, as long as it’s not hurting anyone.”

Ms Saffery said her concern went to the children and youth who were questioning their sexuality and would have to endure the “vile” months ahead.

Rainbow Riverina spokeswoman Sarah Adcock said the whole situation was hard to fathom.

“Frankly, it’s a joke,” Ms Adcock said. “The majority of Australians have recently said they are in favour of marriage equality.”

She said the LGBTQ community and every other community was “a bit over it”.  

“It is inevitable,” she said. “Get it done.” 

To anyone personally affected, Ms Adcock said:

“You are not alone. Reach out for support. We’ll get through this.”