Actor Michael Caton has called on Australians to vote Yes in the marriage equality postal survey, saying the issue is about allowing everyone to be treated equally before the law.

Caton, best known for his roles in Packed to the Rafters and  the iconic film The Castle, paid tribute in a video message to his friends Alan and John, who he first met on stage in the 1960s.

“When I think of marriage equality I think of what it could mean for them,” Caton said in the video.

“They were together then in 1969 and they’re together now. John is 95, Alan is 88 and they live in a nursing home not far from where I live now.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Alan and John, before they pass on, that they could have their commitment recognised by law?” an emotional Caton said.

Caton urged people not to be swayed by opponents of marriage equality who were attempting to portray the postal survey as about issues other than the right of same-sex couples to marry.

“Get all these things out of your mind like religious discrimination, what we are teaching our kids in school, they’re just red herrings,” Caton said.

“This is not about that, this is about people who want to make a commitment to each other. Is that too much to ask?”

Growing up in Queensland in the 1940s, Caton said he had never met a gay person before moving to Sydney.

“I finished my high school education not knowing that homosexuality existed,” Caton said.

As his acting career progressed he met more and more LGBTI people.

“I started to see them as just people and they became good friends of mine,” he said.

Caton said Alan and John, who have been together for almost 50 years, deserve to have their relationship treated equally to those of other Australians.

“I urge you, respectfully, to vote Yes for marriage equality,” he said.

The Equality Campaign’s Janine Middleton said Caton’s video message encapsulates exactly what the Yes campaign is about.

“Fairness and equality are at the heart of Australian society and we believe our laws should reflect these values of which we are most proud,” said Middleton.

“This campaign for marriage equality is for people like Alan and John and is simply about our shared Australian values of a fair go and respect for all.

“Achieving marriage equality can be a unifying moment for our nation as we include all Australians in our marriage laws. Let’s get this done so we can all move forward as a fairer and more inclusive nation.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recommended that remaining survey forms be posted back this week so that they arrive before the survey closes on November 7.

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