Marriage equality supporters held a ‘Vigil for Equality’ at the University of Tasmania in Hobart last Wednesday, March 30, protesting outside a church meeting against same-sex marriage.
The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG) reported that 100 protesters attended the vigil, holding up marriage equality banners, and photos and personal stories of same-sex couples wishing to marry.
Around 250 people attended the ‘Save Marriage’ meeting, organised by the Presbyterian Church and addressed by speakers including Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby, Liberal senator Guy Barnett and Dr Andrew Corbett from the Tasmanian Family Institute.
Protesters read out a letter of support from Tasmanian Greens leader and MP Nick McKim and acknowledged the support of other Tasmanian MPs publicly in favour of marriage equality, including former premier David Bartlett and current Premier Lara Giddings.
TGLRG spokesman Rodney Croome was happy with the turnout for the vigil and said it sends a powerful message to those against marriage equality about the effects of discrimination.
“The vigil highlighted the human face of marriage equality and showed those attending the anti-equality meeting exactly who it is they are discriminating against,” Croome said.
The events at the University of Tasmania coincided with recent amendments to Tasmania’s Relationships Act and Relationships Regulations which came into effect on April 1.
The amendments allow same-sex relationships legally acknowledged in a number of other states and countries to be recognised under Tasmanian law, removing the need for couples to have their relationships registered a second time.
In the same way, Tasmanian Deeds of Relationship have already been recognised as civil partnerships in New Zealand and the UK for several years.
Jurisdictions covered by the amended regulations are the ACT, NSW, Victoria, New Zealand, the UK, and Canada.
By Benjamin Riley