'It has to be yes': Frankie Bodel and Julie Maynard on same-sex marriage survey
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'It has to be yes': Frankie Bodel and Julie Maynard on same-sex marriage survey

Frankie Bodel's boss knows she's going to be late to work on Wednesday.

When the Australian Bureau of Statistics announces the results of the government's same-sex marriage survey at 10am, Ms Bodel and her partner Julie Maynard will be in Haig Park with hundreds of their closest friends waiting for an earthquake.

Frankie Bodel and Julie Maynard with their dogs Molly and Heidi.

Frankie Bodel and Julie Maynard with their dogs Molly and Heidi.

Photo: Rohan Thomson

"I told my boss I would be in straight afterwards if it's a 'yes' result but if it's not, I'll probably call in tears and won't go in," she said.

"It will be just so hurtful."

Julie Manyard and Frances Bodel celebrate the ACT government passing the same-sex marriage bill in 2013.

Julie Manyard and Frances Bodel celebrate the ACT government passing the same-sex marriage bill in 2013.

Photo: Rohan Thomson.
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The couple appeared on the front page of The Canberra Times in October 2013 when they watched the ACT Legislative Assembly pass the nation's first same-sex marriage laws.

Scuttled by the High Court just months later, the laws left couples like Ms Bodel and Ms Maynard with no opportunity to have a legally recognised wedding in Australia.

They married in Vietnam in June 2015, but Wednesday's result could pave the way for equality in law here at home.

"I am optimistic about the result generally," Mr Bodel said.

The couple married in Vietnam in 2015.

The couple married in Vietnam in 2015.

Photo: Supplied

"But I've been speaking to a few people and when they say of course the 'yes' side will get up, I think to myself that Donald Trump is President of the United States and no one saw that coming.

"You just don't know."

Together they have watched public debate about Australia's discriminatory marriage laws for years and have carefully advocated for a 'yes' vote in the national opinion poll.

Like many same-sex couples in Canberra, recent months of waiting for political action have not been straightforward.

They arranged fairy lights spelling "YES" outside their home, but took the display down after a few days for fear of vandalism or vilification.

Ms Bodel said she didn't want to be scared of people knowing who she loved or how she voted in the poll.

"There's certainly been lots of highs, and lots of lows, but there is also a lot of hope.

"Since the announcement of the non-binding, non-compulsory survey, it has been really hard on everybody

"I'm 46, so I've been around for a while, but the impact that it has had on people of my age and how hurtful and damaging and stressful it has been for them, I've been quite surprised.

"A lot of my friends have gone off Facebook completely because they can't handle the comments. It's very hard not to get cranky and fire back at them."

The couple hold concerns for vulnerable young Australians and same-sex attracted people who have faced abuse or discrimination because of their sexuality.

"Getting that really strong 'yes' should help sway and impact the vote that goes on up at Parliament House eventually," Ms Bodel said.

"You talk about a 'no' vote and I'm automatically teary and emotional.

"I just can't imagine... I don't even have words of how I would feel or the impact it would have on strong people and the others to still be labelled as not being equal.

"We'd be saying 'you're still too different' and that's not what Australia is about," she said.

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for the Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.

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