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Melbourne marches for marriage
Thousands gathered on the streets of Melbourne today to call for marriage equality and mark seven years since the Marriage Act was changed to exclude same-sex couples.
Rally host, radio personality, Tracy Bartram was playful with the crowd and called on those assembled to get in contact with their local MPs to make their voice heard.
“It’s not about sledging the government, it’s about speaking to them,” Bartram said.
“[Marriage] is not about gender or sexuality, it’s about human rights… it’s time to end discrimination.”
Speaking to those gathered on the steps of the State Library, Greens MP Adam Bandt said the rally sent a positive message to federal Parliament that change is needed.
“People should have an unfettered, full and equal right to marry the person they love,” he said.
“You can’t have equality by half measures otherwise we have no equality at all.
“If we really believe in equality, if we fully believed in that, there would be no discrimination in the Marriage Act.”
Bandt hit out at Liberal Party MPs who had not spoken up on the issue.
“One of the things that disappoints me most, is when it comes to freedom, and an individual’s right to do what they like as long as it doesn’t harm someone else… is where are all the Liberal Party MPs, who bang on about individual freedom… but have been absolutely silent on this issue.”
Brunswick MP Jane Garrett, flanked by Labor colleagues Richard Wynne, Martin Foley and Brownyn Pike, spoke about the joy she felt on her wedding day and the dignity of signing marriage documents, while her sisters in law were not afforded the same rights.
Garrett said Labor MPs were fighting for change to the ALPs opposition to change.
“We’ll fight it to the last breath,” she said.
Australian Services Union spokeswoman Ingrid Stitt said marriage should be available to all Australians.
“Today’s a great turnout, but let’s be honest, good will is not going to win this campaign, there’s one simple thing that needs to happen and that is legislative change.”
“We’re with you in that fight, and we’re with you until you get that right.”
The rally concluded on the Treasury Building steps where same-sex couples participated in a mass ‘illegal’ wedding.