THE increasingly popular Tropical Mardi Gras in Cairns will host its first ever Same-Sex Marriage Expo to help LGBTI couples consider options and plan for the day that their relationships can be formalised.

Tropical Mardi Gras President Ben Woodward said regardless of whether there would be a plebiscite or free parliamentary vote on the matter, change was inevitable and a number of local businesses, including a five star hotel, had signed up to be involved in the expo.

 “Marriage equality is coming, but so is Christmas, so we’re not waiting,” he said.

“The reality is, Australian same-sex couples are not only planning to get married, many are already getting married.

“We have couples in Cairns who have been married in New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, the United States and Iceland, whilst others have held ceremonies here in Australia in consulates of countries that allow same sex marriage.

“The wedding industry has boomed in every country that has legislated same-sex marriage, so we’re pleased to see companies coming on board to cater for this change in our region, which many consider as Australia’s wedding capital.”

Tropical Mardi Gras will also conduct a community forum on marriage equality featuring guest speakers and politicians in conjunction with the Same-Sex Marriage Expo.

The festival is the biggest LGBT festival in northern Australia and attracts party revellers from all over the country and the world.

The annual Splash Pool Party is a highlight on the festival calendar and will this year feature DJ Dan Murphy and drag superstar Vollie La Vont at the Cairns Hilton on October 2nd.

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