This Saturday’s nationwide rallies for marriage equality may be the last chance GLBTI Australians get to make their voices heard by politicians before the August 21 poll.

Fresh in many protesters’ minds will be last month’s legalisation of same-sex marriage in Argentina, and recent court victories upholding marriage equality in Mexico City and the US state of California, where Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has called for same-sex marriages to be allowed immediately, ahead of appeals to higher courts.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Peter Furness told Southern Star protesters taking to the streets this weekend are likely to buoyed by international progress in favour of gay marriage.

“It embarrasses Australia because in certain countries like Argentina and Portugal there’s a very strong religious influence namely because of the Roman Catholic church,” Furness said.

“Our politicians here really have no excuse.”

Furness said, even though both major parties oppose same-sex marriage, the issue is not likely to die down.
“[Gay marriage] will continue to be a political problem after the election as well… it’s just silly to think it will go away.”

Equal Love spokeswoman Ali Hogg said if gay marriage was good enough for California, “it’s good enough for Australia”.

“Let this be a reminder to [Prime Minister] Julia Gillard and [Opposition leader] Tony Abbott that their views on same-sex marriage are outdated and laws need to be overturned here in Australia,” Hogg said.

Rallies in every state and territory capital except Darwin have been confirmed to mark six years since Australia’s Marriage Act was amended to exclude same-sex couples.

Protesters are also likely to voice disapproval at Gillard’s indication the Government will not remove a ban on issuing Australians with documents — Certificates of Non-Impediment to Marriage (CNIs) — needed to marry same-sex partners overseas.

Furness labelled the Government “nasty” in its approach.

“It’s just sheer mean-spiritedness on behalf of the Government to maintain barriers in the way of couples who are marrying legitimately overseas,” Furness said.

“The purpose of the CNI is simple — to advise a [foreign] government that you are not already married in [your] country of origin.”

The Melbourne rally this Saturday, August 14 will start at 1pm at the State Library, hosted by ABC Hungry Beast presenter and ALSO Award-winner Monique Schafter. Drag performer Polly Filla and The King and I’s Adrian Li Donni will entertain the crowd.

Political hopefuls lined up to speak include candidates for the seat of Melbourne, Labor’s Cath Bowtell and the Greens’ Adam Bandt.

info: Visit www.equallove.info

With Andrew M. Potts

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