Rally to demand equality

Rally to demand equality

A massive rally calling on governments to grant equal rights for same-sex couples will be staged in Sydney next month.

The National Day of Action rally has the support of more than 40 organisations, including the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), PFLAG, Metropolitan Community Church, the Gender Centre, Sydney Star Observer and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

The Mardi Gras organisation, which began as a protest march in June 1978, had not endorsed the rally at the time of print. New Mardi Gras Chair Marcus Bourget said the organisation would discuss lending its support at a board meeting last night.

CAAH member Rachel Evans said she was disappointed New Mardi Gras had been slow in endorsing the rally, but there are still three weeks to go.

We do have a fair bit of unity across the board at the moment, she said. The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, who have historically not endorsed the march, came on board three weeks ago and they are supporting us in our efforts to promote the rally.

The nationwide protest march on August 12 marks the third anniversary of the Marriage Amendment Bill, which banned same-sex marriage in Australia.

Evans said Australia, which was the first developed country to introduce the ban, was the homophobic leper of the first world.

Protest organiser Shelly Dahl said the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Enquiry (HREOC), Same Sex: Same Entitlements, had put gay equality in the public eye.

There has never been a better time to get involved in the fight for all our rights, she said.

The Federal Government seems set to attack same-sex adoption in the lead up to the election. It’s time to organise some people power for same-sex marriage, civil unions and adoption.

Dahl said the rally would fight for a variety of rights, whether it be the right to adopt, the right to have their relationships recognised, the right to marry or the right to see their partner in hospital.

We will keep fighting until queers have the same fundamental rights as their heterosexual counterparts, she said.

CAAH co-convenor Allan Priestley called on all Australians to protest against the discriminatory legislation.

If people support what we believe in, and I believe strongly that Australians do, they can get involved by supporting us, by speaking out, by attending a meeting and by coming to the National Day of Action, he said.

Surry Hills Local Area Commander, acting Superintendent Dave Egan Lee, said NSW Police would assist the protest march, though minor alterations to the route were under discussion.

The protest rally will start at Taylor Square at 1pm on 12 August. Details: www.caah.org. Rally meetings are held Wednesdays at 6:30pm at UTS Queer Space, Broadway.

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