IT WAS time to stand up and be counted is how Colin Mildwaters casually explains his and wife Heather's bold decision to hand out 2500 letters calling on locals to 'vote yes' for marriage equality.
Their third son, Grant, is gay, coming out when he was 16.
Now 35, Grant attempted suicide as a teenager, driven to depression by years of taunting and incessant bullying just because he was different.
He, his parents and two brothers thought those dark days were behind them until the same sex marriage postal survey campaigns kicked off.
"There comes a time when you've got to stand up and be counted," Colin, 65, said.
"I just felt it was important for people who know gays to be able to stand up and say 'hey, they're ordinary people too'.
"He (Grant) feels like he's on trial."
Twenty years after attempting to bring a premature end to his life Grant is starting to rebuild.
He's returned to the Sunshine Coast, having moved to Melbourne for seven years, and is back studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
"It's been really rough actually these last few weeks," Grant admitted.
"The hate it's brought up... it's (postal survey) given people a platform for it... under the guise of a respectful debate.
"It's extremely disheartening to say the least."
Grant wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull outlining the heartache the spiteful campaign had caused.
"People like myself have been beaten, imprisoned, fired/bullied from our jobs, ostracised, abused, and put-down simply for existing," he said.
"We protested in 1978 for our right to exist, fighting ever since to be recognised as equal citizens, and now we are forced to do this all over again.
"We are being forced to re-live the trauma by our lives being the subject of misinformation, outright lies, and hatred.
"We are being dehumanised, degraded, threatened with violence and even death.
"I should not have to ask for my civil rights, and I certainly should not have to feel afraid of violence just for asking.
"As a citizen of Australia, I have the right to feel safe and respected by my country - no-one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen."
Colin said they'd hoped the matter would have been dealt with on the floor or Parliament.
The Kawana Island resident who has been married for 44 years said of the 2500 letters they'd dropped to-date, outlining their situation and why people should vote yes, they'd only received two pieces of negative feedback and they were "respectful".
He said their personal letter had caused an 82-year-old woman to reconsider her decision not to vote at all, and instead support the cause for equality.
Colin said it had taken them three days to get the letters out, spread mainly from Kawana Island down to Golden Beach, and they were now considering a further letterbox drop.
A Coast resident since 1973, Colin said Grant had done it tough when he came out, and the latest vitriol was taking its toll.
"All of a sudden 20-odd million people are deciding on your future and what you should and shouldn't do," Colin said.
"I think it's going to get worse as it goes on."
He said the misinformation was causing plenty of angst and the one that hurt him most was when people declared being gay a lifestyle choice.
"That really riles me," he said.
"You're either born gay or not gay."
He said about 10% of the population was gay and if the vote was compulsory he suspected the answer might be even more strongly in favour of the yes vote.
"Whether gays can marry or not is not going to affect them (no voters), so they should support allowing those people (to enjoy equal rights)," Colin said.
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