TEN years ago this month, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) launched its Sea of Hearts campaign at Victoria Park in Camperdown, Sydney as a protest against the Howard Government’s 2004 ban on marriage equality.

According to the co-convenor of the time, Julie McConnell said: “[The 2004] marriage ban was a statement based on discrimination and prejudice against lesbians and gay men; it was a statement which said that our love is not equal.”

[showads ad=MREC]The pink hearts were planted at Victoria Park to show that same-sex relationships, and children of same-sex couples, were equal and deserved full legal equality.

The 10-year anniversary of the launch, August 13, came just two days after the Coalition rejected a free vote on marriage equality after a marathon party room meeting.

“We are deeply disappointed with the decision of the Coalition party room to deny its members a free vote on marriage equality, to deny the will of the vast majority of Australians, and to deny LGBTI Australians their right to equality,  dignity and respect,” current NSW GLRL convenor Justin Koonin said.

In the past 10 years, the landscape of rights and social attitudes to LGBTI people in Australia has shifted markedly, with upwards of 70 per cent of Australians now supporting marriage equality.

Technology has also evolved, with the Sea of Hearts now known as the Nation of Hearts.

The NSW GLRL is now inviting Australians to take part in the newest phase of their campaign by downloading a Nation of Hearts image and following the instructions on the sheet. Once planted, take a photo of your heart with its individual message of love and upload to the Nation of Hearts Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter or email GLRL your photo and they will upload it. Don’t forget to use the #nationofhearts hashtag.

“We hope that this campaign will celebrate the diversity of which we can be so proud, united behind the idea that our love is more important than our differences,” Koonin said.

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