The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is encouraging community members to send Bob Carr a postcard as part of their latest campaign for equal rights.

The campaign, launched on Tuesday night as part of a Lobby forum on the push for lesbian and gay equality in New South Wales, consists of a number of posters and press advertisements featuring the theme NSW: The Last State. Specially-printed postcards will be available from lesbian and gay venues and businesses, with the idea being that community members will send them to the premier’s office, thus registering their concern about the sluggish pace of gay and lesbian law reform in this state.

If you do one thing for gay and lesbian rights during 2002, let it be this, Lobby co-convenor Anthony Schembri urged.

Whilst rallies and those kinds of large-scale public demonstrations of gay and lesbian interest in rights are important, we believe what is needed now is for people to give their personal views to the government and the premier; hence the postcard campaign, he said.

Schembri said that state parliamentarians, particularly in the Legislative Council, had seen a rise over the past few months in the number of letters they had received from anti-gay protesters.

A copy of one such letter was provided to the Star.

To recognise in law same-sex couples is an abomination, which gives the message to the young that homosexual acts and lesbianism are an acceptable lifestyle, the letter stated. If you are not aware that homosexual acts are the cause of much violence, and results in the death of many young men from AIDS, you should not be sitting in parliament. If you support this type of legislation you will be doing a very great disservice to our society.

Schembri stressed the importance of gay and lesbian community members countering the effect of these letters by making the government aware of their stance.

We’re months outside an election and we need to demonstrate really clearly that there are more votes to be won in equality than there are in homophobia, he said.

Schembri conceded that the postcard campaign was somewhat risky.

The reality is, if the community doesn’t heed our call, then the campaign will fail; it’s as simple as that, he said. There are a lot of times the community gets asked to do stuff, and people are dubious about whether it will have an impact or whether or not it will lead to change. This campaign we honestly believe will make a difference, but it will only make a difference if people respond. The danger is if the community decides not to participate, there could be a strong argument made that gays and lesbians aren’t actually interested in rights, and we know that’s not the case. We know that our community feels very strongly about this, and this is an opportunity for people to demonstrate that interest and concern.

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