Tanja couple paints house for marriage equality debate

Poppy Benton and Champ Gordon in front of their Tanja home.
Poppy Benton and Champ Gordon in front of their Tanja home.

If you’ve driven along Tathra-Bermagui Rd on the NSW south coast recently, a colourful addition to the route in Tanja may have caught your eye. 

While renovating their weatherboard cottage last Saturday, Poppy Benton and Champ Gordon decided to paint the rainbow flag on the front wall of their home.

The decision was a reaction to the debate surrounding marriage equality, which has gained momentum since the government’s decision to hold a postal vote to gauge public opinion on the matter. 

Advertising material for the “No” campaign has been released, including the television advertisement from the Coalition for Marriage group, which is led by the Australian Christian Lobby.

The couple took offence to the suggestions of this and other campaign materials, and felt the need to offset their messages for the sake of gay members in their local community.

“We felt the debate starting to getting nasty, so we wanted to do something to counter it and show people they are supported here,” Poppy said. 

“Traditionally these colours are used to mark a safe space, and that is certainly the case for our house.” 

Since they painted their front wall, the couple have had people wave, honk horns and stop and take photos outside their home. 

“A young girl jumped out of her car and took a photo as she and her friends were driving by,” Champ said. 

“I think that if she got back in her seat and started up a conversation with her friends about marriage equality and what this vote could mean, then the wall is working.”

The couple painted the wall to trigger discussions around the marriage equality and open the conversation to people unfamiliar with the gay community. 

“There are people out there who feel uncomfortable about the topic of gay marriage and gay people,” Poppy said. 

“But this is an invitation for discussion, to learn a little bit more about us and how we’re affected by this vote.”

Poppy said legalising gay marriage would provide security for couples when a partner becomes sick or dies. 

Although they were concerned painting their house would draw negative attention, The couple said the painted wall had only generated a positive reaction from the community.