Razor blades found in Australia same-sex marriage ballots
Australian postal votes on same-sex marriage were returned with razor blades, glitter and dirt.
The country is currently holding a public postal ballot on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
The vote, ordered by PM Malcolm Turnbull, has been extremely contentious, with the ‘No’ camp playing up fears over ‘radical gay sex education’.
The campaign’s aggressive tactics have been linked to a rise in hostility against the LGBT community, with activists reporting a string of violent homophobic incidents since the vote was calls.
This week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that razor blades had been found in some returned ballots.
The ABS said that in total, police are investigating 14 incidents connected to the ballot – including attempts to sell blank ballot papers online to the highest bidder.
Other items found by ABS staff inside envelopes include dirt and glitter.
To date the turnout is 72.2 percent, with more than a week until the final deadline for ballots.
Elsewhere this week the city of Sydney announced it will offer free weddings to gay couples if equal marriage becomes legal.
The city passed a motion this week that would allow same-sex couples to marry for free in some of the City of Sydney’s grandest and most prominent buildings and parks.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the motion past by the council will make community facilities, halls and parks free for 100 days for same-sex couples, after equal marriage becomes law.
Sydney Town Hall will also hold a mass same-sex wedding as a celebration of equal marriage.
Labor Councillor Linda Scott said the move was intended to be a gesture of love towards LGBT people because “this community has suffered significant discrimination and many have felt hurt during the campaign”.
She added: “This is a practical way for the council to combat discrimination”.
However, senior Liberals opposed the motion – arguing it would be discriminatory because it doesn’t apply to opposite-sex couples.
Straight people were not impacted by the public vote on whether gay couples deserve basic human rights.
Anti-gay marriage campaigners have also sought to replicate tactics of campaigners who helped secure the UK’s vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US.
The Australian Family Association urged people to vote against equal marriage to create a ‘Brexit for Australia’.
They told supporters: “This is your chance to do a Brexit, a Trump, and confound the political elites by saying, we are not going to accept gender fluid ideology and gender fluid ‘marriage’ being forced on every man, woman and child, whether they are religious of not.”
The group recently launched an ad featuring a man who claims he can’t publicly express his opposition to same-sex marriage.
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Last month a cafe was threatened with arson for supporting the Yes campaign while a 14 year old girl received a death threat for supporting marriage equality on social media.
Three Australian Prime Ministers have been at loggerheads over equal marriage, as anti-gay former PM Tony Abbott viciously mocked former PM Bob Hawke after Hawke criticised the vote called by current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
Tony Abbott has become the most prominent voice of the anti-gay lobby as Australia votes on equal marriage – alienating much of his own family in the process.
After Abbott suggested it would be “best” for his gay sister’s children to be raised by a straight couple, his own daughter Frances spoke out for equality, appearing in a TV ad on the opposing side of the debate to her dad.
The ex-leader has taken his opposition to LGBT rights to surreal extremes, lashing out at “transgender marriage” and demanding censorship of a Macklemore performance over gay anthem ‘Same Love’.
The Equality Campaign last month released a video and image of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 87, backing the YES campaign for marriage equality.