The same sex survey result could well be a ‘no’ – what happens then?
Change is hard. Harder than everyone thinks.
There is every chance on Wednesday that the opinion polls have got it wrong, just like they did with Brexit and President Hillary Clinton.
The result of the Australian marriage law postal survey could well be a victory for the “no” camp – probably not by a wide margin, but possibly by a whisker.
So what happens then?
If you’re a passionate “yes” supporter – particularly if you’re an LGBTI Australian – here are some thoughts about our next steps if all hopes come crashing down at 10am on Wednesday morning.
The first thing to do is this: switch off the TV, log off Twitter and go and spend time with the people you love.
Whether that’s the person you still intend to marry, or your family, mates and colleagues – it doesn’t matter.
Just find the people who know you best and be safe.
If you can, head down to the post-result party in your area.
These events will still go ahead, win or lose. And they won’t be mournful, depressing affairs. They will still be a celebration of everyone’s differences and everyone’s love.
Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that the LGBTI community in this country have been through it all and they stick together no matter what.
The second thing to do is: try and see this as a hurdle, not a wall.
It was only 13 years ago that Federal Parliament voted explicitly to ban same-sex marriage, just in case the law wasn’t clear enough already.
Activists didn’t give up then. They won’t give up now.
Change is painful and it takes a long time. It brings exhilarating highs and dreadful, rotten lows – and those of us in the business of change have to be prepared for both outcomes.
Battles will be won or lost, but the ultimate victor is always the side that can rightfully claim the universal values of fairness and justice.
And on the question of equal love, it’s clear where those values lie.
Don’t forget, there will soon be another chance to put our case to the people again.
This time, it will be real election – not a fake one.
And should Bill Shorten and Labor have the privilege of winning that election, then they will legislate for marriage equality within their first 100 days of taking office.
Stay focused on that.
The third thing to do is this: get mad.
Get mad at our poor excuse for a government in Canberra. Get mad at the party that invented this ridiculous postal survey. Get mad at the cowardly Prime Minister who gave the idea the green light because it might keep him in his job a few months longer.
Get mad, even if the survey result is an unambiguous yes, because it never should have happened in the first place.
Get mad – and get even. Campaign for a change of government and a change of law, and help make this postal survey a weird, sad and short-lived footnote in history.
There’s one last thing I want LGBTI people to do … keep standing up and speaking up. Keep teaching us about your lives and your beautiful families. And keep telling us about what you go through, day-to-day.
Without your voices, the rest of us will never be able to understand what you have endured. These lessons really mattered to me.
I never had to sit my parents down as a nervous teenager to talk about my sexuality. I’ve never been scared to bring my wife to a work event. I’ve never scanned the street and stopped holding my wife’s hand. I’ve never fielded questions about where my children came from.
I’ve never worried that someone will refuse my family service.
And I’ve never had to ask a nation for permission to marry the person I love.
For everyone who has to endure all that, the pain of a “no” result is going to sting like hell. Things will be bad. But things will get better. I promise.
No matter the result, the Victorian government has your back.
And should victory slip away from us this week, let’s borrow a few words from Ted Kennedy: the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.
Daniel Andrews is the Premier of Victoria.