John Holmes is 48, lives in Merimbula, has family ties to the first colonists of Sydney, pays his taxes, has a dog called Dexter, and a loving partner of 22 years.
He is also gay.
Mr Holmes spoke out this week on the marriage equality debate happening across the country and the move to survey Australians on whether same-sex couples have the same right to get married as the rest of the adult population.
He said he once felt proud to be an Australian, growing up in “the great multicultural society of the 1970s and ‘80s”, but struggles to feel that same sense of pride now.
“We have been together for 22-plus years,” he said of his relationship with Jonathan Vincent.
My being able to marry my partner of 22-plus years will have no effect on anyone else so why is there such disharmony and hatred?
“Not a day has gone by where we have not said “I love you” and our relationship has not harmed anyone else in any way – so what gives anyone else the right to force their religious beliefs on us by denying us the right to marry?
“As a same sex couple, we pay the same taxes as a so called traditional “man/woman” married couple do. Yet we are not afforded the same human rights as them.”
Mr Holmes said he is descended from Eleanor Fraser, a First Fleeter and the first woman to be granted a plot of land at Concord in the 1790s.
“She was then given a further 20 acres and I believe that land is now the home to Concord Hospital. She was a founding settler of this great country, of which over 24 million people now call home,” he said.
“It really is disgusting to have that connection with Australia yet still be denied equal rights just because I am gay.
“So much for the land of a fair go for all.”
Mr Holmes said he was appalled that religion was being used as one reason to deny marriage equality, instead of accepting that all people deserve equality.
”The latest Census showed nearly one third of Australians showed no religion, yet we still have religion dictating to us what is right and wrong per their beliefs.
“This government is paid to govern and make these decisions, so it is appalling to see the current PM so scared to stand up for the rights of all Australians for the fear of losing his job.
“This is the 21st Century and Australia is one of the few countries to still discriminate against LGBTIs by not giving us the same rights as everyone else.
“My being able to marry my partner of 22-plus years will have no effect on anyone else so why is there such disharmony and hatred by people like Tony Abbott and John Howard?
Mr Holmes also said it was time Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull “showed real leadership” by standing up for all Australians.
“Do what is right for all Australians – no other Australian has the right to dictate to the LGBTI community whether they can marry or not, just like we don’t have a right to dictate the same to others.
“So stop the hate campaign, stop the discrimination and have a Parliamentary conscience vote. Not a dictated forced ‘No’ vote by the far-right faction.”