Community activists say they have put their differences aside and reached agreement about the divisive issue of relationship law reform, as they prepare for a rally in Sydney next month on the first anniversary of the federal same-sex marriage ban.
The rally, scheduled for 13 August, will coincide with other events around the country as part of a national day of action to mark one year since the passage of federal legislation blocking gay marriage.
Activists and gay political groups plan to march from Taylor Square to Hyde Park, subject to police approval, under the banner of relationship equality -“ marriage, civil unions and de facto rights.
Independent Bligh MP and Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore is due to speak at the rally, alongside federal Greens senator Kerry Nettle and other community advocates.
Groups including the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and Australian Marriage Equality aim to draw attention to the lack of federal recognition of same-sex partnerships.
We feel it’s important that our communities across the country come out and make a strong statement that our relationships are equal, Lobby co-convenor David Scamell told Sydney Star Observer.
The event’s broad banner will accommodate the range of community views on relationship reform, according to Luke Gahan, national convenor of Australian Marriage Equality.
Rally organisers say previous divisions over relationship law reform have been mended in the lead-up to the national day of action.
In May, activists clashed at a same-sex marriage forum on the same day the NSW Greens announced they would introduce a gay marriage bill in state parliament.
The NSW Greens have since endorsed the upcoming national day of action.
NSW Greens GLBTI spokesperson Ray Goodlass told the Star: It’s moved on from [the May same-sex marriage forum] and I think the fact we’ve got such a broad coalition taking part in the national day of action on 13 August illustrates that.
Another rally organiser, Rachel Evans from Community Action Against Homophobia, said: [The division over law reform] has been practically overcome. We had massive discussions and debates over this last week.
We really do have a good level of agreement to work with.
However, one group supporting the 13 August march, Rainbow Labor, has admitted tensions remain over long-term strategies.
Rainbow Labor convenor Peter FitzPatrick told the Star tension over strategies absolutely remained among groups endorsing next month’s rally.
There’s tension over the process by which we get to an endpoint that we all agree on and people have different views around the tactics, Rainbow Labor convenor Peter FitzPatrick told the Star.
But he said any differences over tactics would not hamper preparations for next month’s equality rally.
I don’t really see it as fundamental disagreement in the community.
I think [the broad relationship equality banner] was a sensible way forward and we could have a slogan that everyone was happy with.
The relationship equality rally is scheduled for 13 August at 1pm. The next preparation meeting for the event is on 27 July, 6:30pm in the Harry Heath room, UTS Tower Building. A rally working bee is planned for 30 July, 11am-4pm at the New Mardi Gras workshops, 297-299 Trafalgar St, Petersham.