Austinmer toddlers exposed to hate over postal vote

Loving family: Austinmer's Emily Gray (right) - pictured with her wife Somali and their boys, Max, 2, and Levi, 4 - hopes Australia votes YES to marriage equality despite the hate surrounding the debate. Picture: Supplied

Loving family: Austinmer's Emily Gray (right) - pictured with her wife Somali and their boys, Max, 2, and Levi, 4 - hopes Australia votes YES to marriage equality despite the hate surrounding the debate. Picture: Supplied

Austinmer toddlers Max and Ravi know without question that their two mums will love and care for them forever.

But now, in the midst of debate surrounding a postal vote on marriage equality, the little boys are hearing ‘’hurtful things’’ which is causing them to question their family unit.

Their mother Emily Gray shared her heartache in an emotional social media post this week.

‘’In the lead-up to the postal vote they have started to hear hurtful things, about how the children of gay parents are the next ‘stolen generation’, how having two mums will damage them somehow,’’ she said.

‘’Now I grew up in the Gong – born and raised, I have never felt anything other than welcomed and accepted by the people in this amazing part of the world.

‘’Hearing this now breaks my heart.’’

Read more: Illawarra MP cops same-sex marriage hate mail

Ms Gray told the Mercury that ‘’religious fundamentalists’’ should not be taking over the marriage equality debate.

‘’It’s unfortunate that this debate has enabled all those bigoted views to take centre stage,’’ she said. ‘’It’s damaging to our children who – as hard as we try to protect them – hear these things, as they eventually trickle down to the playground.’’

Max, 2, and Ravi, 4, have two mums; they also know and love their dad – a dear friend of their mothers.

‘’Our boys are happy, boisterous, fun-loving kids who haven’t yet had reason to question their family as being anything other than normal,’’ Ms Gray said. 

Ms Gray and her partner Somali – who both work in human rights – met 12 years ago. They married in New York’s town hall prior to having their children.

Read more: How to make sure your marriage vote is counted

‘’It was wonderful to have our relationship recognised in New York but it didn’t feel like the big life event that we’d imagined celebrating in front of our family and friends in our own country,’’ Ms Gray said.

Australians have until August 24 to check they’re enrolled to vote.

‘’Whichever way you’re planning to vote, I would urge you to please make sure you’re enrolled and that your details are correct,’’ Ms Gray said.

Of course the couple hopes that Australians back marriage equality, and that they can make their union official back home.

‘’It would be so great for Ravi and Max to know that their family is accepted and recognised as valid by their community,’’ Ms Gray said.

‘’How great would it be if the results of this postal vote told the government that prejudice and hate is not going to be tolerated at this time in this country.

‘’And if you don’t believe in marriage equality, for whatever reason, I invite you to come and meet my family.’’

To enrol to vote visit www.aec.gov.au/enrol. Or to check your details go to check.aec.gov.au

Explainer: Same sex marriage postal vote, what do I do now?

Do I need to enrol if I voted in the last election and haven’t changed my address?

No. You are already enrolled. There is no specific enrollment for the same sex marriage survey.

I’m not convinced. Is there some way I can confirm if I am already enrolled?

Yes. You can check your current electoral enrolment by entering your details in the form here.

What if I’ve changed my address since I last voted?

Take a breath. It’s easy to update your details in just a few quick steps by clicking on here.