Sydney’s rally for marriage equality on Saturday will be hosted by Hungry Beast host and Star Observer board member Monique Schafter and Triple-J announcer and singer-songwriter Brendan MacLean.

The rally will also hear from Brenna Harding of the Wear it Purple campaign, sexless activist norrie mAy-welby, National Union of Students Queer Officer Rebecca Hynek and a speaker from the Australian Services Union.

Police and the Anglican Diocese of Sydney have backed down from their claim that the protest could not be held at Town Hall because of maintenance work in a small part of Sydney Square.

However the diocese and police have sought to impose a three-page-long list of conditions on the protest – including that there be no more than 1,000 protesters; that protesters keep as far away from St. Andrews Anglican Cathedral as possible; that church representatives be able to direct the movement of protesters who spill onto their side of the square; that police control the volume of  sound system, and that banners will not contain “offensive language or obscene slogans or pictures”.

CAAH Co-convener Ben Cooper said, “We have been stunned by the feedback we have received for this peaceful rally in general and in particular for the issue with the Anglican Church.”

“We are expecting a strong turnout on Saturday.  It’s very important, as we lead up to the National Labor Conference in December, that we continue to maintain a strong grassroots presence on the streets and keep up the pressure on Julia Gillard to give us our basic human rights.”

Cooper continued “Come with your friends, come with your family and together let’s send a powerful message that homophobia and sexual discrimination has no place in our country.”

CAAH Co-convener Cat Rose said, “Everyone is determined to defend the right to protest and take a stand against homophobia.”

“It is a win that the church and the police have backed away from their initial statement that the protest could not go ahead at its advertised location, but they still feel like they can push us into accepting unfair terms.”

“The list of conditions [Police] try to impose grows every year – it is an attempt to get protesters to accept fewer rights than those guaranteed to them through completion of the Notice of Intention.  There is no legal grounding for them to attempt to get us to accept these conditions; it looks like more of a wish-list to us.”

info: Marriage equality rally is at 1pm, May 21, Sydney Square at Sydney Town Hall.

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