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27 Jul 2009

Nationwide Day of Action for same-sex marriage in major Aussie cities, Aug 1

Australians in the capital cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and Canberra will take to the streets on Aug 1 to demand equal marriage rights for all regardless of sex and sexual orientation.

Equal Love, the group organising the rallies, has launched five online advertisements on Youtube in recent weeks to inform and educate the public about the importance of equal rights for same-sex couples. The rallies will include a world record attempt for the largest mass illegal wedding.

The five ads produced by Equal Love all feature two main characters, the Australian Government and Equality. The latest ad launched last Friday additionally features two couples in love; one opposite-sex couple and one same-sex couple (two women). Both couples met and fell in love under almost identical circumstances. The love they feel for each other is the same. The opposite-sex couple is now planning their wedding. The same-sex couple is not allowed to get married.

"In our previous ads, we tried to use humour to get the message across," said Meighen Katz, Equal Love spokesperson and producer of the online ads.

"But for our final ad, we decided to get serious, because at heart this is a serious issue. It's about the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across Australia and how they're affected by being denied basic human rights that the rest of society takes for granted." 

Meighen Katz, spokesperson for Equal Love, said in a press statement: "Marriage equality is not 'the icing on the cake' or an 'unnecessary luxury' as some have claimed. It's about treating LGBT people as full human beings with the same rights as everyone else.

“Marriage is the highest form of relationship recognition that we have as a society. The fact that same-sex couples are excluded from marriage sends out a very strong signal to society at large that LGBT people are not fully human and are not worthy of the same rights as everyone else. This stigmatises same-sex relationships and that in turn fuels other forms of discrimination and human rights abuses, including violence and even murder. It also leads to self-acceptance problems among LGBT people, which can lead to low self-esteem, depression and even suicide. That's why the fight for marriage equality is so serious. It's a vital part of the fight against homophobia in general. You could say it's a necessary, but not sufficient condition for a achieving a more tolerant and accepting society."

Same-sex civil unions are recognised in the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Victoria while the City of Sydney provides a relationship register available to all residents of the state. The civil union schemes do not confer the rights of marriage and are generally not recognised by other Australian states or territories although are recognized by other countries such as the United Kingdom. (For more details on civil unions in Australia, click into http://www.australianmarriageequality.com/civilunions.htm)

Equal Love’s annual national day of action will take place on Aug 1 in six capital cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. In past years, the protest was held on August 13 - the anniversary of the passing of legislation, by the Howard government in 2004, that banned same-sex unions.

Sydney will be the focal point of the day’s activities with a noon time rally outside Town Hall to be followed by a march to Darling Harbour for a ‘mass illegal same-sex wedding’ outside the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the 45th Australian Labor Party National Conference will be in progress.

South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a Marriage Equality Amendment Bill - a private member’s bill - in Federal Parliament on Jun 24. The Bill seeks to remove all discrimination based on sexuality and gender from the Marriage Act to allow any two people to get married. It will also allow same-sex marriages legalised abroad to be recognised in Australia. Along with the bill, Hanson-Young produced a 30,000-signature petition in support of same-sex marriage.

A Senate inquiry into same-sex marriage is underway and is accepting submissions by the public in favour of or opposing marriage equality. Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national convenor Peter Furness has urged those in favour of marriage equality to make their voices heard.

“It is extremely important that the Senate Committee receive as many submissions in favour of marriage equality as possible because our opponents are already mustering their support base,” Furness was quoted as saying on the group’s Facebook page. The inquiry is due to report back to the parliament on 26 November 2009.

Seven other nations allow same-sex couples to marry: Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. Six American states allow same-sex marriage: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

AME and Equal Love are urging supporters to send their submission - a few sentences would suffice - through the Senate's website www.aph.gov.au or online. AME has also produced a guide (What should I say? What other people are saying?) to making submissions, which can be found at www.australianmarriageequality.com.

Equal Love protest venues on Aug 1, 2009

Melbourne (Victoria)
DATE Saturday 1 August, 2009, 1.00pm
VENUE Federation Square
INFO Rally and mass illegal wedding
CONTACT Martin Baldock (0423 912 766)

Sydney (New South Wales)
DATE Saturday 1 August, 2009
VENUE Starts at Sydney Town Hall at 12noon.
INFO March to Darling Harbour for mass illegal wedding outside Labor Party National Conference; www.caah.org.au/nda
CONTACT Emilia Lawonski (0401 519 593); Ben Cooper (0412 325 231); Heidi Claus (0419 377 396); caahsydney@gmail.com

Adelaide (South Australia)
DATE Saturday 1 August, 2009, 11.00am
VENUE 11.00am, Parliament House; 12 noon Barr-Smith Lawns, Adelaide Uni; 6.00pm Uni Bar, Adelaide Uni
CONTACT Jason Virgo 0432694680, jwvirgo@gmail.com

Brisbane (Queensland)
DATE Saturday 1 August, 2009, 1.00pm
VENUE Queens Park
CONTACT Jessica Payne, jessicapayne86@hotmail.com

Perth (Western Australia)
DATE Saturday 1 August, 2009, 2.00pm
VENUE Sue Boyd Room UWA & Cottesloe Beach
INFO Visit www.families4freedom.info for more details.
CONTACT Keegan Martens, martek01@student.uwa.edu.au (0424 594 417)

Hobart (Tasmania)
DATE Saturday 1 August, 2009, 11.00am
VENUE Salamanca Market
INFO The Tas Gay and Lesbian Rights Group will launch a petition for equal marriage at its Salamanca Market stall.
CONTACT Rodney Croome (0409 010 668)

Canberra (Australian Capital Territory)
DATE Saturday 1 August, 2009. 1pm.
VENUE Main stage, Garema Place, Civic.
INFO Rally & illegal gay wedding, followed by march to Bob McMullan's office.
CONTACT John Kloprogge, act@equallove.info (0422 913 942) 

Reader's Comments

1. 2009-07-27 20:21  
2. 2009-07-27 22:54  
Fridae has Agenda listings for each event - search for "EqualLove" in Australia and you'll find them.

Aussie Fridae users, show your support!
3. 2009-07-28 18:01  
4. 2009-07-28 20:34  
Editor: I believe Adelaide is a 'Capital city' as well (larger than Hobart and Canberra) missing in your headline!
Best wishes to all participants!
5. 2009-07-29 14:05  
gay marriage. why all the passion?
6. 2009-08-02 19:01  
National day of action... sadly the events were organised far too late and lobbying came so late in the time-frame that there was little impact on the deliberations taking place at the governing Australian Labor Party's national policy conference.

Thankfully gays and lesbians within the ALP, Rainbow Labor, led internal discussions, negotiations and even some arm-twisting and banging of heads, to slowly shift ground towards same-gender relationship recognition and successfully remove offensive wording in the old platform.

"Gay marriage" it may not be - in a nation where not only the straights split 60/40 for and against the issue, but where the G&L community too is deeply divided both for and against.

One uniting issue has now emerged on the Australian political landscape: the very real prospect of full legal national relationship registration/recognition in a form which many heterosexuals have already taken up in the two Australian states and one territory where gays and lesbians can already do this. Maybe the first step towards "marriage" thats not religiously defined and therefore gay and straight marriage may become equal without the need for religious consent.

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