Around 750 people attended the gay and lesbian rights rally at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday to protest for equal relationship recognition before the law.

The crowd was made up of a diverse cross-section of the community including toddlers, mums and dads, drag queens, teenagers, senior citizens and Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

The rally was held in response to the federal government’s decision to outlaw same-sex marriage and attempt to ban overseas adoption. It was organised by the NSW Gay And Lesbian Rights Lobby, ACON, New Mardi Gras and the Sydney Pride Centre.

This federal government is the first government in Australian history that has attempted to pass legislation that winds back gay and lesbian rights, Rights Lobby co-convenor Rob McGrory told the protestors. It’s a grubby political tactic in the lead-up to an election.

On the recent Play School controversy, Rights Lobby co-convenor Somali Cerise said it was farcical that two dykes in a park was an important enough issue for government ministers to call press conferences all over the country.

Do these men have nothing better to do? Cerise asked. How is it that the little guy, who knew nothing about the prisoners in Iraq, knew what the ABC was showing toddlers at 9:30 in the morning?

Lesbian mum Chris Wilkinson, who has a 10-year-old son with her partner, asked: How is it possible that heterosexuality is so fragile that our loving families so threaten their relationships?

Retired Uniting Church minister Reverend Dorothy McRae-McMahon said the gay and lesbian community had been used and abused by both major political parties, and rejected claims that same-sex marriage sent a negative message to the community about family values.

Stevie Clayton hosted the rally while singer and comedian Mark Trevorrow kept the crowd entertained.

Cerise told the Star she was thrilled so many people attended given only three days’ notice and said she had received great feedback on the event.

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