A small group of same-sex marriage opponents met in Warrnambool on Monday night as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed the format of same-sex marriage postal survey forms.
Alex Witham, a former Warrnambool Presbyterian Church pastor who helped organise the meeting, said its purpose was to help people understand the issue of same-sex marriage and how to respond to people with different views.
The meeting, held at Warrnambool’s Crossroads Church, involved a speech by Mr Witham followed by a question and answer session.
Mr Witham, who is part of the anti same-sex marriage group Coalition for Marriage, said he expected about 20 attendees from the Presbyterian and Crossroads churches.
He said the meeting was private and not open for anyone to attend.
The former pastor said he believed changing the legal definition of marriage would impact on free speech and lead to other harmful changes in society.
Mr Witham said he did not have a close association with anyone in the LGBTI community.
The ABS started mailing out survey forms across the country for a vote on the legalisation of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, with all forms due to have been delivered by September 25.
The forms, which feature ‘yes’ and ‘no’ boxes to be marked, must be mailed back to the ABS by October 27, and the survey results will be published on November 15.
Last week, following the High Court upholding the postal survey on same-sex marriage, Brophy Family and Youth Services’ ‘Safe In The South-West’ co-ordinator Lyn Eales called for people to get behind the ‘yes’ vote.
Ms Eales said people should look after themselves and keep up social connections.
“Be a supportive friend, be a supportive family member or colleague,” she said.
“Let’s make sure everyone is okay.”
Ms Eales said there would be celebrations of the south-west LGBTI community as part of a push for marriage equality over coming weeks.
Last Wednesday, about 100 people gathered as Warrnambool City Council raised a rainbow flag in a show of support for the LGBTI community ahead of the postal survey.
The council previously passed a unanimous motion supporting marriage equality.