CELEBRATIONS: According to the statistics the majority of Coffs Coast residents voted in favour.
CELEBRATIONS: According to the statistics the majority of Coffs Coast residents voted in favour. Contributed

Coffs LGBTIQ community 'relieved' after result

WEDNESDAY marked a historical moment for marriage equality in Australia, and for the local LGBTIQ community they said the first emotion, admittedly, was relief.

"There was just this sense of relief because they felt like the postal vote was unnecessary and opened them up to negativity, but every step along the way is a success,” Parul Punjabi, co-founder of the LGBTIQ Coffs Connection & Community Group.

At 10am on Wednesday, the head of the Bureau of Statistics David W Kalisch released the official results of the same-sex marriage survey, revealing 62% of Australian voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage and 30% voted against.

In the Cowper electorate, a total of 95,810 residents returned their survey, with 60% voting 'yes' and 40% voting 'no'.

"Everybody feels relieved and overjoyed. It feel like the end of a very long wait,” co-founder of LGBTIQ Coffs Connection & Community Group, Tod Trappett, said.

"A lot of the older generation have been trying to get equality for such a long time and they didn't think they would see this happen in their lifetime. A lot of people were amazed, thinking Coffs is changing and has become more accepting and it was beautiful to find out people felt that way.

"Some of the LGBTIQ community did have concerns about 'no' voters, but in the end the community was so accepting. Young people in particular can be vulnerable in a situation like that, and negativity makes them feel lost.”

Following the release of the results, Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker told The Advocate he would be voting 'yes' in Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage.

"The wishes of the people of Australia is clear and I've said through the entire survey period that should the Australian population as a whole vote yes that I would certainly vote that way on the floor of the Parliament,” he said.

Since the survey came into play, Mr Hartsuyker's stance on same-sex marriage markedly changed, after he declared in 2011 he will not vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

"The definition of marriage, and marriage is about children, it is a union between a man and a woman,” he said at the time.

"For me, the politicians saying they weren't going to support it, a lot of them were doing it for religious reasons. But I think maybe they can't be sore losers now,” Mr Trapett said.



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