Last Friday’s hyped radio illegal gay wedding has made its mark in federal parliament, with the Senate accepting a pro-gay marriage petition this week from nearly 5,000 supporters of the 2Day FM ceremony.

Greens senator Kerry Nettle tabled the petition yesterday afternoon after more 4,545 people signed it on 2Day FM’s website in the lead-up to the nuptials.

The document calls for amendments to the Marriage Act to include same-sex partners. Nettle hoped the petition would keep the issue of gay marriage alive in Canberra, despite last year’s national ban.

This motion was a way in which I could highlight, to all the senators there, that I was tabling a petition of 4,545 people who support the recognition of same-sex marriage, and highlighting the wedding that occurred in Sydney, she told Sydney Star Observer.

There are a lot of conservative people in the Senate [and] I don’t want them to think, -˜We’ve dealt with that issue. That’s over now. We’ll never again have to deal with the issue of whether or not we recognise same-sex marriage.’

While the Senate did not have to act on the petition, Nettle said it had symbolic importance.

It’s a message from the community about what people would like the Senate to do.

I think it’s important that we find ways in which we can continually raise this issue in the Senate, because it’s not going to go away.

Nettle also proposed yesterday that the Senate congratulate the radio newlyweds, but the move failed.

2Day FM newsreader Geoff Field wed his long-time partner Jason Kerr during the Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O breakfast show last Friday.

Nettle, actress Kate Fischer, entertainer Carlotta and members of the New Mardi Gras board were among the estimated 350 people who attended the live broadcast at First Fleet Park near Circular Quay.

Former NSW premier Bob Carr and TV personality Ray Martin sent messages of support.

Field told the Star he was delighted with the response as he and the wedding party drove from Parramatta to meet Kerr at the ceremony.

On the way in, people were blowing their horns. I could hardly hear myself while I was doing crosses to Kyle and Jackie. It was lucky -“ no negative responses that I could see at all.

It was amazing. It was the best day of our lives. What trepidation we might have had about going so public on live commercial radio disappeared.

While legal reform was not the couple’s main motivation, they welcomed this week’s Senate petition.

We didn’t set out to be poster boys for the gay movement, or anything like that -“ primarily we wanted to marry each other -“ but if this is a side effect, well bring it on, Field said.

NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor David Scamell, who appeared on Channel Seven’s Weekend Sunrise program on Sunday to discuss the gay nuptials, welcomed the ceremony and the Senate petition.

We think it’s fantastic that 2Day FM has taken the opportunity to publicise and keep the issue alive, he told the Star.

It really sends out a strong message that gay and lesbian relationships are just as loving and caring and supportive and they should be treated equally before the law.

Kerry Nettle said the same-sex wedding broadcast took awareness of gay rights to a new audience.

As much as people might have criticism of commercial radio -¦ I think that what they did was actually make it an issue [for] people in the mainstream who might not have been thinking about the issues or aware of the issues, Nettle said.

It’s a bit of a message to the community that those people you see on TV, those celebrities, they support this, and it’s okay for you to support this.

I think that probably makes it easier for young people in the western suburbs who listen to 2Day FM to say, -˜Okay, it’s not so bad.’

2Day FM’s breakfast show ranked fifth in the latest Nielsen Media Sydney radio ratings survey, and the station rates highly among younger listeners.

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