Relief is flowing across the Riverina as the same-sex marriage postal survey comes to a close and with it, the “hurtful” vote-no campaigns, according to the LGBTI community.
But the region’s lesbian, gay, bi and trans residents say they fear what may yet come.
As of 6pm on Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will no longer accept votes for the nation-wide ballot.
Launched in September this year, its official results will be published online on Wednesday, November 15, answering one simple question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"
Recorded votes will be released on a nation-wide basis and broken down into electorates, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) minister.
Polls before and during the campaign have shown a clear lead for the "yes" side; however, those opposing the legislation’s change believe a "silent majority" will rally in support of the status quo.
Rainbow Riverina president Max Lyons said a “yes vote” would be fantastic, but it would not be the end of the debate, as it would not be binding.
Mr Lyons said this was the biggest worry for group members.
It follows a number of “unfair” television advertisements, supporting the no campaign across recent months.
The 28-year-old said he had personally found the “homophobic and trans-phobic messages” hurtful and hateful, with the debate seeming to be about “people spreading misinformation and hate”.
“Hopefully now it is closing, it will be finished,” Mr Lyons said. “If it is ‘yes’, are the government going to do anything?”
Wagga man Allan Briggs with irony said the “respectful debate” was far from finished, but he praised the positive support received from the majority of residents across Wagga.
Others from Rainbow Riverina said they were sick and tired of "being in the spotlight and being criticised by the public”.
The most recent update from the ABS showed 77 per cent of eligible Australians had returned their forms.
Riverina MP and ABS minister Michael McCormack said a response from more than three-quarters of eligible voters was a good thing, with more than 12.3 million Australian residents having placed their votes.
Mr McCormack said it validated holding the vote in the first place.
“It vindicates the Coalition’s pre-election commitment to hold some form of survey on the issue,” Mr McCormack said. “Australia have been able to have their say.”
The federal MP said he believed it was up to parliament to uphold the view and will of the nation, whatever that may be.
“I said in 2015, I felt it was the parliament’s obligation to uphold what the nation asked for,” Mr McCormack said. “I stand by that.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness or in need of support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Qlife – LGBTQI specific – on 1800 184 527.