National youth mental health foundation headspace has released submissions to their campaign to give young people a voice about marriage equality.
In October, the organisation asked young people to send in their stories, experiences, reflections and views on same-sex marriage.
Today the submissions were compiled for delivery to Prime Minister Julia Gillard ahead of the Labor National Conference beginning on Friday, December 2.
93 percent of the submissions headspace received were in support of equal marriage rights.
CEO Chris Tanti said he wasn’t surprised by the strong theme throughout the responses that highlighted the need for equality and change.
“The submissions we received demonstrated an overwhelming positive response to the idea of marriage equality, showing people as young as 13 are very passionate and supportive of equal marriage,” he said.
One of the common reasons for supporting same-sex marriage in the submissions was the idea that marriage inequality perpetuates the discrimination faced by the LGBTI community, with some highlighting the disproportionate suicide rates among this group.
“I’m sure the suicide rate would go down if more people realised that being gay is okay, and that won’t happen if even our Prime Minister is discriminating against it,” Mady, 15, said.
“I feel like this is because we are being sent a message that we are ‘not right’ in some way, and that this means that we don’t deserve the same rights,” Laura, 21, said.
Other common views among young people’s submissions included that denying equal marriage rights is archaic, that equal marriage should be a basic human right and that love knows no gender so neither should marriage.
13-year-old Chelsea said she didn’t understand why two people who love each other cannot get married.
“It would be like me putting down someone else because of their height, the colour of their skin, or the sound of their voice,” she said.
“It is not a person’s choice whether they are attracted to men or women, and people should accept that fact, and start treating them fairly.”
Of the seven percent against marriage equality, just under half were in favour of civil unions.
While many respondents identified as same-sex attracted, many were non-LGBTI young people advocating on behalf of their family and friends.
“My best friend is gay. And I would love for him to be able to get married one day, and be able to be as happy as any heterosexual man can be with the one they love,” Brodie said.
To view a selection of the submissions, visit the campaign page here.