It has been a long time coming, but finally same sex marriage is upon us.
While it is an undeniably historic moment for Australia, there can be few issues that have divided the community as much as the right for same-sex couples to wed.
One of our sister newspapers, the Cessnock Advertiser, experienced this firsthand.
It was trolled and attacked on Facebook for merely running a paid advertisement in support of the No case.
When the No campaign advertised a second time, the paper ran a piece on its editorial page – just like this – calling for calm heads and a more reasonable response from those who opposed the view. Thankfully common sense prevailed.
Now, after what seemed an eternity of rallies and television advertising campaigns, here we are.
The Mercury understands this is a change that some in society will not support. Whether that be personal views or the teachings of their religion, many clearly believe marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
Nonetheless the overwhelming message from the same-sex marriage plebiscite and the subsequent decision of parliament means it is incumbent upon all of us to accept the change in good faith.
A couple of weeks back, The Mercury asked two local church leaders, Mother Moira Evers and Pastor Bob Cotton for their views on same-sex marriage after the survey results had been released.
Their views were poles apart.
Mother Moira was a keen supporter of same-sex marriage, believing love was all that mattered.
Pastor Cotton, on the other hand is a self-confessed fundamentalist conservative, who believes only a man and a woman should marry and anything else would be “contrary to the biblical pattern”.
And fair enough. However, Pastor Cotton said despite his views he accepted the decision - and this is the message we would like to send out to readers.
While we understand there won’t be instantaneous acceptance, we believe same-sex marriage will be a non-issue in years to come. These days our young people are being encouraged and supported to embrace their sexuality, so the thought of a same-sex couple is hardly out of the ordinary to them.
The decision is done, the people have voted. It’s time to move forward.