‘Equal marriage rights now!’

Melbourne same-sex marriage march, May 15 2010. Photo: Margarita Windisch.

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. On May 15, thousands around Australia marked it by marching in support of equal marriage rights.

In Melbourne, 3000 people from diverse organisations rallied at the state library.
Among the speakers were the director, cast and crew members of the current production of Waiting for Godot, including well known actor Ian McKellen.

McKellen, who also pre-recorded a message for rallies in other cities, spoke proudly of his support for the equal love campaign. “It is a matter of principle”, he said. “The law must not discriminate. I hope you are totally successful, you have my full support.”

A representative from Equal Love announced there were 100,000 signatures on a petition in support of same-sex marriage, which would be sent to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, to table in parliament.

United Firefighters Union state secretary Peter Marshall said unions were working to stop discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the workplace.

Protesters were invited to take part in the “Great Global Kiss-In”, allowing same-sex couples to publicly express their love for each other.

Melbourne High School students Izzi Williams and Jordan Boulter spoke on behalf of queers at schools. They said: “74% of queer youth have experienced some sort of verbal or physical abuse against their sexual gender.”

Queer suicides are six times the rate of heterosexual people.

Jim McIlroy reported that more than 300 people rallied in Brisbane’s Queens Park. Andrew Bartlett, a former Australian Democrats senator and now Greens candidate for the federal seat of Brisbane, told the rally: “We all need to stand up for our principles. If we don't stand up for human rights, there will be no one left to stand up for us when we are under attack.”

After the speeches, a reverend from the Metropolitan Gay Church conducted several same-sex marriages. This was followed by a mass,same-sex kiss-in.

After the rally, the protesters conducted a lively march through city streets, and back to Queens Park.

The rally chair urged everyone to start campaigning for the next national equal rights rally on August 15.

In Sydney, Rachel Evans reported a lively crowd of more than 1000 people. Pre-recorded speeches by McKellen and Dannii Minogue were followed by speakers from a variety of organisations. These included: Palestinian queer academic Samar Habib; Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union state secretary Andrew Ferguson; Kat Rose from the National Union of Students; Ben Cooper, from Community Action against Homophobia, and trans activist Conor Montgomery.

In Perth, Alex Bainbridge reported about 250 people joined the national call for same-sex marriage rights, hearing from Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, Greens state parliamentarian Lynn MacLaren and Families for Freedom member Shane Bowra.

One hundred and fifty people rallied in Canberra, and 50 rallied in Adelaide and Wollongong.

Above: Photo slideshow from Sydney by Peter Boyle. Below: Photo slideshow from Perth.

Below, video footage of the Perth rally by Alex Bainbridge.

Comments

In Perth there was a protest, I personally would have loved to attend as a am a proud support of gay rights and believe every individual should have the same opportunities as myself.

Sadly though, I could not attend, the reason for this was that The Socialist Alliance were one of the organisers. An organisation that is meant to look at of the rights of all people, sadly this organisation has failed to do so.

On the 7th of January 2010 the Socialist Alliance adopted their policy in relation to The Palestine Israel Conflict. In this document the Socialist Alliance, a so-called left wing organization pasted a resolution stating “Ending the criminalization, in Australia, of Palestinian and Lebanese organisations that resist Israeli occupation using the misnamed “anti-terrorism” laws.” This change in policy is condoning the murder of 12 million Jews. To justify my statement here is a comment made by the leader of one of these so-called resistance groups Hezbollah leader Nassan Nasrallah “If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”(Daily Star, Oct. 23, 2002]) Another one of these organizations they want to legalize is HAMAS. The HAMAS charter clearly states, “…The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)…” Isn’t it funny how a group that supports peace wants to legalize organizations that promote the mass murder of another people and culture.

The Socialist Alliance as we know has clear policies that promote gay rights. For an organization that aggressively promotes equality between all obviously didn’t do their research. In the areas of Lebanon where Hezbollah have control they murder individuals even suspected of homosexuality and in Gaza where HAMAS are the controlling party they have legislated that homosexuality is illegal and that people who are suspected of being gay are imprisoned or put to death.

Can someone please explain to me why the Socialist Alliance would even fathom calling for these Islamic fundamentalist regimes to be legalised. I just hope they are incredibly misguided, not a group of racist bigots hiding behind the ideas of socialist revolution.

As a Jew and a supporter of peace I can not be part of rally that is backed by a group that is happy to see the destruction of my people and the persecution of Homosexuals and woman in the middle east.