An Adelaide protest for same-sex marriage has been disrupted by street preachers, while Sydney’s May 21 marriage equality rally will go ahead after initially being barred from its planned location by the Anglican Church.
South Australian police removed at least one of the preachers who were shouting at the protesters through megaphones and holding banners with phrases including “the wages of sin is death” and “as wax melts before the fire so the wicked will perish at the presence of God”.
A same-sex marriage supporter was reportedly dragged from her wheelchair when she grabbed hold of one of these banners.
NSW Police decided in January that people wishing to hold events beside the Sydney Town Hall needed the permission of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney which owns most of Sydney Square, and police emailed organisers on May 11, writing that the “proposed venue [is] unable to hold this event due to conflicting cathedral activities and ongoing maintenance”.
Diocese media officer Russell Powell initially told the Star Observer that maintenance issues prevented use of the square.
“Fencing has been erected on the western forecourt and the square cannot be used for large gatherings until at least the end of the month,” Powell said, without elaborating on the “conflicting cathedral activities”.
However, on Tuesday morning the diocese backed down.
“The diocese now understands that the rally will be smaller than originally anticipated and that issues of public safety arising from the maintenance works on the western side of the Square will be appropriately addressed,” Sydney diocesan secretariat CEO Mark Payne told the Star Observer.
“The diocese will not, therefore, use its right of veto to oppose the rally.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP had criticised the initial decision to refuse permission for the rally. She said she had been disappointed that the diocese had refused permission and that protesters would be allowed to use a strip of the square owned by the City of Sydney.
“I have been happy to support and speak at these well-managed and peaceful rallies over the past few years,” Moore said. “The city has no objections to its section of Sydney Square being used for this and similar rallies.”
info: Marriage equality rally, 1pm, Saturday, May 21, Sydney Town Hall