Australian Comedian Addresses Her Country's Marriage Equality Vote

Free speech doesn't mean open hate.

She's one of the Australia's funniest comedians, but this week she set aside some of the humor to address a serious topic of debate in her country.

On Wednesday, Hannah Gadsby penned a personal Facebook post about the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum vote in Australia. The 38-year-old openly gay comedian believes the public vote would create an "open season for hate" that could be detrimental for young people.

Gadsby grew up in Tasmania in the 90s when the LGBT debate was front and center. In 1997, Tasmania became the final Australian state to decriminalize homosexuality.

"For many, the debate was theatre," she wrote. "For me, it made me hate myself so deeply I have never been able to develop an aptitude for relationships."

Gadsby said the debate from 20 years ago allowed people to mistreat her with hurtful words, "and on one occasion, violence."

As of August 25, her Facebook post received over 6,000 likes.

The Daily Telegraph recently reported that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to announce that the vote for same-sex marriage will occur in February 2017.

The ballot question is expected to read: "Do you approve of a law to permit people of the same sex to marry?"

According to Mashable, it will be a non-binding vote.

Gadsby offered some advice to ensure that the debate on the issue is done in a civil and peaceful way.

"If this [vote] has to happen, then let's try and drown out the hate filled commentators," she wrote.

Australians looking to engage in a meaningful and constructive debate on this issue could reach out to organizations like Australian Marriage Equality for more information.

A Plus reached out to Gadsby for a comment.