Marriage protests to continue ‘until we get it through’
Thousands have once again taken part in the latest round of protests across the country calling for marriage equality, with rally-goers in Sydney also witnessing an illegal ‘shotgun’ wedding as a church pastor conducted a ceremony for two same-sex couples in blistering heat in the middle of Oxford Street.
The heat in Sydney did little to turn down the volume of the rally as about 1,000 people took the centre of the CBD in unison while chanting, “Out of the bars, into the streets – equal rights now,” and “Gay, straight, black, white – Marriage is a civil right”.
Gathering once again in front of Town Hall before a march up to Taylor Square, the crowd heard from speakers including Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome and NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann who called for supporters to continue the campaign and not become disenchanted with the reform following two failed votes on the issue in both houses of the Federal Parliament this year.
“Marriage equality is now a touchstone issue in this nation,” Croome said.
“Particularly younger people who want to see a more inclusive and equal Australia, a better Australia.”
As rally-goers waved placards reading ‘Born this gay,’ ‘Would Jesus discriminate?’ and the more direct ‘Stop being bastards! And let us get married,’ Faehrmann said moves for state-based marriage equality laws in NSW and elsewhere meant the issue was not going away anytime soon.
“I know that you will continue to protest and continue to demand equal rights and marriage equality until it becomes law in this country,” she said.
“There are some people out there who are disillusioned about the vote this year in the Federal Parliament. Well, you can rest assured that The Greens will continue to introduce marriage equality legislation in every single parliament across the country until we get it through.”
Dad and marriage advocate Geoff Thomas received just about the loudest cheers on the day as he told the crowd about his journey from being a homophobic parent to the “proudest father a gay son ever had”.
“I was raised in an Australia where homophobia was considered normal. After nine years in the Army I was homophobic,” Thomas said.
“[After my son came out] I had a look at my attitudes.
“Being gay is not a lifestyle choice … all the opposition to the gay community is based in fear, ignorance and prejudice.
“[Now] the only thing that I don’t like about my son being gay is that he is not treated equally in his own bloody country.”
As the march made its way toward the traditional heart of the city’s gay community in Taylor Square, protestors slowed down to sit in the middle of Oxford Street as Metropolitan Community Church pastor Karl Hand got on top of a ute to preside over an illegal marriage ceremony for two young couples before they shared a kiss in front of delighted onlookers.
About 500 people also took part in a lunchtime rally in Brisbane while a day before about 300 people took to the streets of Perth and close to 1,500 people pounded the pavement in Melbourne in support of equal marriage laws.
Photo: Serkan Ozturk