Around 280 people celebrated late into the night at the Daylesford Hotel on Wednesday in celebration of the majority yes vote in the Australian same-sex marriage postal survey.
For many members of the community, it was a night they will never forget.
“It really was one of the most special nights I have ever been to,” Sarah Lang said.
Ms Lang said the hotel was packed with Daylesford’s gay community, family and friends and allies.
The Advocate asked Ms Lang what the ‘yes’ vote meant to her.
“I think if you would have asked me that on Tuesday (the day before the result) you would have gotten a very different answer. On Tuesday it was very much about the law and equality,” she said.
“When the yes vote came through it brought up so many emotions that were so much more. It was about knowing that for the majority of Australians, they accept us as equal.”
While Ms Lang said she was excited to attend many weddings in the hope that the bill for same-sex marriage will pass parliament soon, Daylesford Hotel co-owner Graham Bamford said he was a little more cautious.
“We haven’t seen the bill go through yet. I can’t help it, I’m cautious. I come from the 70s and the 80s and being homosexual was illegal in the early 70s. That’s the time when I was first out,” he said. “The Australian public have come a long way and that vote was a really nice kind of recognition that Australia has moved forward.”
After the 61.1 per cent majority ‘yes’ vote was announced on November 15, the Turnbull Government was tasked with changing the law before Christmas to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Daylesford Hotel co-owner Anne-Marie Banting plans to marry once the law is changed.
“I never thought it would happen, but I found a partner I want to marry.”
But Ms Banting said changing the marriage law not only meant a lot to her and her partner, but would change so much for her 10-year-old son.
“When we listened to Magda and the Q and A debate (about same-sex marriage) he said, ‘mummy, does that mean I’m dead if it is a no?’.”
“We have always said you are the luckiest boy in the world having two mothers. Well now, he is.”
Liz Matthews received a phone call from her daughter after the ‘yes’ vote was announced.
“’You know all those years you were picked on? No one is going to pick on you anymore’,” Ms Matthews said to her daughter.
“(She’s) 36 and she can still hark back to all of that. Years ago in Melbourne to be gay with a child was very hard work. It has been a long time coming. When I first came to Daylesford it used to melt my heart seeing girls walking down the street holding hands, feeling safe, doing what they want to do. I could never do that as a young girl.”
Ms Banting said the Daylesford Hotel would host another party when the same-sex marriage bill passed parliament. “I think November 15 should be forever called yes day,” Ms Lang said.