A gay and lesbian kingdom has been formed on a Coral Sea island in protest against the Australian government’s stance on gay marriage.

If we can pull this off we’ll be our own country and have gay marriages and all those other things that we want to do, basically, Dale Anderson, emperor of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom, told Sydney Star Observer.

Cato Island has been declared independent by a group of Queensland gay men, including Anderson, a Gold Coast businessman. Anderson said he devised the idea following a talk by Rodney Croome in Brisbane last year, at which Croome predicted Howard’s gay marriage ban.

Cato Island is out from Gladstone, about six hours out in a boat. And a lot of friends have been out there fishing and stuff. No one lives there, so we thought we’d attack the government on a different angle, Anderson said.

A declaration of independence was sent to politicians including the prime minister and the governor-general on 14 June, to coincide with Brisbane’s Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival. Anderson said the Greens and Democrats had replied with a form letter, but they had received no other responses.

Cato Island is an uninhabited three-square-kilometre landmass that forms part of Australia’s Coral Sea Island Territory. Anderson said he was not trespassing by visiting the island, although a spokesperson for the federal minister for Territories Jim Lloyd told the Star it was not legally possible for the group to declare the island their own and secede from Australia.

Anderson disagreed, and suggested the group have a right to territorial compensation because of the government’s anti-gay laws.

On the kingdom’s website (www.gaykingdom.org), Emperor Anderson stakes their claim -“ invoking laws used in the landmark Mabo ruling.

The principal in law of -˜Unjust Enrichment’ is now applicable to this situation, wrote the Emperor. This law states -˜if something is unjustly taken then compensation must be made’ and Her Majesty’s law of Tort now fully applies. What has been taken from the homosexual people is our right to be treated equally, whether it be marriage, superannuation, hospital visits, adoption or IVF treatments.

Anderson was further exploring their legal options, but insisted their territorial compensation claim was intended purely to add weight to the group’s declaration of independence.

Anderson said he was not affiliated with any political group, although he is a paid member of Brisbane’s Pride committee and claims to be directly descended from homosexual British monarch Edward II. His appointment as emperor was just that no one else would do it, he laughed.

But we’re very serious about it, he added. The government’s obviously not going to recognise it but if we can force them to do something about it, then they can’t ignore it.

The next stage for the kingdom is to produce camp postage stamps and pink dollars, although Anderson is not expecting many extra tourists.

It’s a bit hard to get there because there’s no harbour and you have to park the boat off the reef and wait for a wave, Anderson said.

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