Stephanie Hastings is a women's refuge manager from Perth, Australia. And as the mother of two gay sons, the issue of marriage equality is dear to her heart.
So at a rally in Perth last weekend, where over 5000 Australians turned out to support marriage equality, Stephanie told the crowd why it means a lot to her.
"I am married to my husband Barry, I am the proud mother of four children and grandmother to six wonderful grandchildren," she said.
"My daughter and my youngest son were able to marry their partners – my two middle sons, however, cannot marry their long term partners because they are treated differently under the law."
Stephanie spoke candidly about her initial concerns after her eldest son first came out to her at age 17.
"I was worried that he would be lonely and unhappy as he got older," she said. "I couldn't help thinking from a mother's perspective that he wouldn't marry and have children. I grieved for the change in the expected script for my son's future and for my lost grandchildren."
However, Stephanie said, she realised that "my son is my son and I love him and will always support him". And now, her sons are in long-term relationships and have families of their own.
Stephanie spoke directly to older Australians, telling them to "remember the era you were raised in".
"People fought for equal rights by demonstrating and protesting against racial inequality, the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and for women's rights," she said.
"As the great Bob Dylan said, 'The times they are a-changing'. This is the time to allow marriage equality – it is the right thing to do."
"You were able to choose to marry the person that you love – think about the many people in Australia who are unable to make that choice because they are discriminated against," she added.
"Marriage equality will not have any detrimental effect on your marriage," she said.
Support for marriage equality in Australia varies dramatically according to age.
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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