An Australian dad who ‘grew up homophobic’ has now become a very vocal supporter of LGBTI issues.
Geoff Thomas has decorated his utility truck – ‘ute’ in Australian slang – with messages of support for marriage equality.
When his son Nathan came out 12 years ago, Thomas had to shift his thinking on LGBTI issues.
‘I spent nine years in the army, I’m a Vietnam veteran, I was a plumbing contractor,’ he told Buzzfeed News.
‘I was conditioned to be homophobic, and then one day my son comes out to me.
‘I had to ask myself the question – what is it about gays that I didn’t like?’
Thomas realised his unfounded fear was based on ignorance and prejudice. He is now very protective of his son’s rights in Australia and wants the law to change.
‘I came to the view that my son wasn’t equal in law and that really got up my nose, so I became a very strong advocate for marriage equality,’ he said.
‘To me it’s a civil rights issue. It’s got nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with gay people having babies.
‘In the 12 years I’ve been advocating for this, I’m yet to hear a reasonable argument against it.
‘I’d had this talk with some people and I said, ‘Every man and his dog supports marriage equality’. And I thought, I’ll put that on my ute.
Hit the road Geoff
So, Thomas decked out his ute with signs of support for marriage equality and will drive to different parts of Australia to talk to people about marriage equality.
Australia has been deadlocked in the conversation about marriage equality since 2004 when then Prime Minister John Howard changed the Marriage Act to say that marriage was between a man and a woman.
Marriage equality advocates are pushing for the issue to be decided by a parliamentary vote. Currently a majority of politicians in Federal Parliament support marriage equality.
But the Australian government is still pushing for the matter to be resolved via a plebiscite [a public vote], even though that proposal was blocked by the Senate last year.