Today I handed out “Yes” posters for the same-sex marriage survey along the length of the shopping strip in High Street, Ashburton. For the most part it was a rewarding experience, with a handful of shopkeepers very keen to proudly show their support, and a lot more shopkeepers who were similarly keen, pending their manager’s approval.
I am happy to endorse the shops that support equality, like this one:
and this one:
One shop in particular, Baker’s Delight, was magnificent. The staff member whom I spoke to said he’d need to speak to his manager before he could put it up. I was happy enough that he wanted to do the right thing and seek permission. Then a few minutes later I walked back past shop and he was sticking the poster to the shop front. My heart swelled because they were proud to support equality.
However something happened between me leaving the shop and coming back a little later that disturbed me greatly. I saw a woman shoving a scrunched marriage equality Vote Yes poster into the rubbish bin out the front of the shop. The bin was full so her adding this large poster to the mouth of the bin didn’t help very much with its disposal.
I was alarmed to see someone throwing this poster in the bin because I knew it had been taken down from one of the many locations along the length of the street that had been covered with these posters.
I asked the woman why she was putting that in the bin and she said “Because it’s rubbish”. She then turned to walk into the bakery, but not before I could see the prominent pink and blue circular badge on her top that said something along the lines of “I’m voting No”.
I was hoping to capture some footage of her and challenge her on camera about her actions but the best I could do get was her walking back to her car (Burgundy KIA Sportage, rego VIC ANS-072) and driving away.
So when the people opposed to marriage equality claim they have no voice and are the silent majority, being denied their “free speech”, just take a look at this woman, ripping down Yes posters, calling them rubbish (and by inference calling equality rubbish) and putting them in the bin.
She could have handed the shop a poster asking to promote her anti-equality cause, just like I did for my pro-equality cause, or put similar posters up and down the strip of shops, but instead she chose to remove a poster that someone else put up, in a cowardly attempt to silence people wanting equality under the law.
What belongs in the bin are the bigoted attitudes of this woman who is opposed to all people having the same rights under the law, and not a poster calling for equality.