Rallies to back queer marriage bill


Rallies for marriage equality will be take place across Australia on November 28. The protests will launch a National Year of Action for same-sex marriage.

Protesters want the Rudd government to pass the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009, which is currently before a Senate inquiry.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the bill in June. The Senate committee is due to report on the bill on November 26.

Australian Marriage Equality estimated the Senate committee had received more than 10,000 submissions, a big majority of which supported the bill becoming law.

Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) is organising the same-sex marriage rights campaign in Sydney.

CAAH co-convenor Emilia Lawonski told Green Left Weekly: "A suicide prevention report released by Suicide Prevention Australia in August states that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexuals.

"We cannot have such discriminatory [marriage] laws on the books, which increase stigma and corresponding suicide and self-harm rates in our community. We need to take a strong stand to protect the wellbeing of the queer community."

Tracie O'Keefe, spokesperson for Sex and Gender Education, said: "We are thrilled to support CAAH's year-long campaign to secure marriage rights for all, and urge everyone to attend the event at Town Hall this month to keep this important human rights issue in the public eye."

CAAH has invited the queer community and supporters to be illegally wed on November 28. Ben Cooper, CAAH Co-convener said it will be "a massive display of same-sex loving disobedience … to show our love is not second-rate".

[Rallies will take place in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Lismore and Brisbane. For more details visit www.caah.org.au/nya.]