More than 100 prominent Australian authors including JM Coetzee, David Malouf and Helen Garner have put their names to an open letter urging Australians to vote yes in the same-sex marriage postal survey, in what they called â€œthe interest of fairness, equality and social reformâ€.
Peter Rose, editor of Australian Book Review, contacted a host of names from Australiaâ€™s arts community following the high courtâ€™s decision earlier this month to allow the federal governmentâ€™s postal vote to go ahead. With voting now well under way â€“ and a decisive lead currently held by the yes side, according to a Guardian Essential poll â€“ the literary journal has published the letter to its readers, signed by names including actor and writer Magda Szubanski, ballet dancer and author of Maoâ€™s Last Dancer Li Cunxin, and the authors Geraldine Brooks, Michelle de Kretser, Kate Grenville and Christos Tsiolkas.
Rose said that the response had been positive and immediate, with artists, directors, lawyers and public figures also putting their names to what he described as â€œa respectful contribution from some of the most prominent people in the arts in Australiaâ€. The open letter reads: â€œIn the interest of fairness, equality and social reform, we encourage Australians to vote yes in the same-sex marriage postal survey.â€
â€œThis debate is about equality â€“ no more, no less,â€ said Rose. â€œHomosexual acts are perfectly legal in Australia. Gays and lesbians (tax-paying and law-abiding citizens) seek the same right that applies to heterosexuals: the freedom to marry their partners if they so choose.â€
Pointing out that this right already exists in countries including Britain, Germany and the US, he added that â€œgays and lesbians serve in our defence and police forces, they educate our children and work in our hospitals, they entertain us and illuminate our lives through literature and the performing artsâ€.
â€œThe time for distrust and discrimination is over,â€ he finished.
The results of the survey will be announced on 15 November.