About 250 people came down to the Theatre Royal last Wednesday morning to share, connect and honour the journey of the LGBTIQ people of our region.
The announcement that the nation said Yes to marriage equality was met with a mix of relief, joy, sorrow, disbelief, and the palpable feeling in the room that our community is strong together and brimming with love and support for our LGBTIQ people.
Castlemaine Marriage Equality YES want to thank the whole community for their solidarity and support throughout the postal survey period. They will continue to actively support LGBTIQ people in our community in collaboration with service providers, community groups, and businesses active in this space.
"The Castlemaine YES team donated the fabulous rainbow cake which was made for us by Felicity from the Theatre Royal," said campaign member Marion Yates.
"The idea was to do something special for our LGBTIQ community and their allies to enjoy together regardless of the result.
"We used funds raised at our community engagement stalls at local markets, so it was really a gesture of love and support from the whole community.
"The Bendigo electorate returned a 69 per cent Yes result. That is almost 10 per cent higher than the national average. We reckon Castlemaine bumped those numbers up significantly!"
Barbara Huggins from Castlemaine: "Just sobbing, uncontrollably. Years of believing, that no matter what I did, my love was not equal. And then this. A woman I work with said today that I looked like a weight was lifted. It shocked me as I didn't realise that the weight was there. But it was and now it's not. This was always personal. But now it it political. Get. This. Done."
John Parkinson from Castlemaine: "What a range of emotions. Relief, joy, exhaustion. I think it will take time for what has been achieved to sink in. I want to express my thanks to all who helped to achieve this outcome. The support of the wider community has been overwhelming. You are all heroes for equality and a fairer Australia. Thank you."
Sherene Clow from Castlemaine: "Wednesday's result could not have been more of a relief. Being at the Theatre Royal surrounded by new and old friends was a truly moving experience. I accepted many hugs and shed tears with many people. It feels like an affirmation that this accepting society I once took for granted was back. Thanks Castlemaine after that uncomfortable unease, your warmth was just the balm I needed."
Mathew Feeney from Castlemaine: "Cheers Castlemaine! It was great to be with our new community on Wednesday for the big YES announcement. It was an emotional day but we are so thrilled with the result. We have only been living here for a short time and just love how accepting, loving and diverse this wonderful community is and we are so proud to call Castlemaine home!"