CHRISTIAN Democratic Party leader and NSW MLC Fred Nile was married for the second time last weekend with his ceremony at North Sydney also featuring a surprise same-sex marriage protest involving a drag queen.
Carrying a sign reading “Divorce the church from the state”, a small group of LGBTI activists gathered outside St Thomas’ Anglican Church to hold their own mock wedding ceremony as Nile, 79, married Silvana Nero, 55, whom he had met at a CDP meeting in early 2012, four months after Nile’s first wife Elaine had died from cancer.
Following the defeat of a same-sex marriage bill in NSW’s Upper House in mid-November, Nile had commented that he would be celebrating that “victory” with his own marriage in December, and that he wanted to make it a “celebration” of the institution of marriage.
Viva LaBang, who took part in the same-sex marriage protest, said it was such remarks by Nile that motivated them to target his wedding to highlight the issues.
LaBang said it was hypocritical of Nile to suggest that marriage was for procreation when arguing against marriage equality, considering it was doubtful he would be producing children with Nero.
“Fred Nile represents the fact that there is no separation between church and state, for too long now he has used his position to force conformity to a Christian upheld belief,” LaBang said.
“What is worse is that he is able to justify his bigoted comments by his position with the church.
“If any other politician or public figure made similar comments as that of Fred Nile it would cause a public outrage.”
NSW Liberal MLC David Clarke acted as Nile’s best man while guests included NSW government ministers such as Mike Baird, Greg Smith and Duncan Gay, as well as Labor’s Luke Foley and Walt Secord.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott could not attend but did send a signed letter – which quickly went viral on social media – congratulating the pair and talking up the benefits of marriage.