Around 750 people attended the gay and lesbian rights rally at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday to protest for equal relationship recognition before the law.

The rally was held in response to the federal government’s decision to outlaw same-sex marriage and attempt to ban overseas adoption. It was organised by the NSW Gay And Lesbian Rights Lobby, ACON, New Mardi Gras and the Sydney Pride Centre.

Host Stevie Clayton told the crowd the choice to get married should be her own and not John Howard’s, while Rights Lobby co-convenor Somali Cerise said the prime minister was trying to turn back time as the federal election loomed.

Last time it was refugees, leaking boats and babies overboard. This time it’s lesbian mums in wedding dresses, Cerise said.

Lesbian mother Chris Wilkinson, who has a 10-year-old son, spoke about the recent controversy over a same-sex couple appearing on Play School. How is it possible that heterosexuality is so fragile that our loving families so threatens their relationships? she said.

Retired Uniting Church minister Reverend Dorothy McRae-McMahon said the gay and lesbian community had been used and abused by both major political parties and rejected claims that same-sex marriage sent a negative message to the community about family values.

Cerise told the Star she was thrilled so many people attended the rally given only three days notice and said she had received lots of positive feedback on the event.

Rights Lobby co-convenor Rob McGrory also spoke at the rally, while entertainment was provided by singer Mark Trevorrow.

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