Marching to Equality
Last Saturday, August 31 saw a large crowd gather on the steps and pavement in front of Parliament House in Adelaide for the last Equal Love rally before the federal election.
It was a large and peaceful demonstration that took place in front of Parliament House last Saturday, for once without the disruptive presence of the infamous Street Preachers*. A number of speakers took to the podium before the crowd upped sticks and marched along North Terrace, up Pulteney Street and into Rundle Mall.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks told the crowd the fight for equality was not about party politics. “Compassion is unlimited,” she said, “and we will work with anyone to get this important reform through.”
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young was also on hand to remind the crowd her very first Private Member’s Bill when she entered parliament was a marriage equality bill and she said the Greens would keep working with all sides of politics to see reform passed.
Joe Szakacs the new secretary of SA Unions pledged the organisation’s support for full equality, saying he had been lucky enough to marry the love of his life and wanted all Australians to be able to do the same.
Labor Senator Penny Wong agreed with the Greens’ cross party sentiments and called on the Liberal Party to get behind marriage equality.
“It was a Liberal politician who took the first steps to decriminalise homosexuality [in SA],” Wong said. “Well, where are those Liberals now?”
“This is not about the federal election,” she continued. “It’s about a fight that will continue until we change the laws and get equality.
“We need our opponents to understand there is nothing to fear from equality, and there never, ever has been.”
Other speakers included representatives from the National Union of Students and the Socialist Left Alliance, among others, but perhaps the most telling comment of the day came from a high school LGBTI activist called Renée. Recounting the horror she felt seeing images of LGBTI people being assaulted in other countries just for speaking up for their rights, she echoed the words of a Russian girl her own age, saying:
“I am 17, and I will help to change the world.”
Pictures: Ron Hughes
*Note The Street Preachers made a road-trip to Sydney to disrupt their marriage equality rally instead.