A 1500-strong crowd gathered in front of the State Library on Saturday to march again for same-sex marriage rights.
It was the first of several rallies planned this year for Equal Love’s year of action on the issue.
National Union of Students queer officer Kath Larkin said the failure of the Greens’ recent Marriage Equality (Amendment) bill in federal Parliament was a reminder same-sex marriage rights were not inevitable.
“Politicians are not going to give us our rights. We’re going to have to win them,” she said.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby interim convenor Sarah Rogan rejected Family First senator Steve Fielding’s claims same-sex marriage would undermine heterosexual marriage.
“He’s second only to Tony Abbott in his open homophobia,” Rogan said. “He said [the bill] seeks to undermine marriage and undermine [the] family.
“The bill does nothing of the sort. It wanted to remove discrimination faced by same-sex couples.”
Greens federal Senate hopeful Richard Di Natale said the fight was about offering all Australians equality under the law.
“I don’t think we’re here to talk about marriage, because marriage means all sorts of things to people,” he said.
“For some people, it’s a lovely way to celebrate your love publicly. For others, it’s an important religious ceremony. For some people, it’s a horrible institution and they don’t want a bar of it.
“We’re here today because the Government has taken away your choice.”
TransGender Victoria representative Sam said the ban on same-sex marriage also has a significant impact on the transgender community when people transition.
“One of the most absurd issues the trans community faces is that many couples are forced to divorce because of the sex on their birth certificate.”
The Auslan-interpreted rally was hosted by Rocco D’Amore and Kaye Sera with a special performance by Bumpa Love.
The next Equal Love rally is on Saturday, May 15.