Thousands rally for same-sex marriage

Issue 

On August 1, thousands of supporters of same-sex marriage rights rallied around the country demanding equal rights for gay and lesbian relationships. On the same day, the ALP national conference passed a policy motion supporting the recognition of same-sex relationships but opposing gay marriage.

Greens parliamentarians addressed some of the rallies, explaining their party is sponsoring a bill to amend the Marriage Act to remove explicit discrimination against same-sex couples.

A theme at the national rallies was mass "wedding" ceremonies. In Melbourne. 4000 people witnessed the "marriage" of 65 couples. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young addressed the crowd, condemning Labor for having just rejected legalising gay marriage.

In Sydney, 3000 noisy protesters gathered at Town Hall and heard city mayor Clover Moore say her council's registration scheme was a step forward but no substitute for marriage rights.

The crowd marched to the conference, where protesters yelled "marriage rights now!". Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon, Rachel Evans from Community Action Against Homophobia, Alex Greenwich from Australian Marriage Equality and Matt Loader from Rainbow Labor all spoke.

In Lismore, 150 rallied and heard ALP mayor Jenny Dowell state her support for civil unions. The rally was double that of last year. In Brisbane, 500 mainly young people witnessed three same-sex marriages, then took a loud and passionate march through the city, chanting "out of the closet onto the street!".

In Canberra, 200 people heard Socialist Alliance activist Farida Iqbal, Greens MLA Meredith Hunter and Liam McAuliffe from Equal Love Canberra, which organised the rally. There were also speakers from Amnesty International and Socialist Alternative.

Hunter spoke of the Greens' plans to put up another civil unions bill in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

On August 13, the fifth anniversary of the same-sex marriage ban in federal parliament, the Australian Christian Lobby will hold a special commemoration in Parliament House, celebrating marriage as a union "between a man and a woman". Protesters resolved to rally outside parliament on the same day, demanding equal marriage rights.