Upwards of 800 people attended Saturday’s rally for marriage equality in Australia at the Sydney Town Hall, which marked the seventh anniversary of the ban on same-sex marriage in this country by the Federal Parliament.
Throughout the rally, attention was drawn to the upcoming ALP National Conference, to be held in Sydney in December, at which delegates will debate the issue of same-sex marriage.
Rally organisers urged supporters of marriage equality to protest outside the December conference to put pressure on the party to add support for marriage equality to its national platform.
Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) co-convenor and rally organiser Cat Rose said it was not good enough for the Labor Party to leave the issue to a conscious vote.
“Equality is not a matter of subjective conscience, but a fundamental issue of human rights’’ Rose said.
Speaking to the Star Observer, NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge called upon delegates to the national conference to reflect what he said was the majority view of the rank and file membership of the Labor Party.
“What I am hopeful for is that the ALP will recognise that this is not a minority or a marginal issue, but a mainstream issue for mainstream Australia, who are saying that it’s time to fix it – that it’s time to stick to your principles and legislate for what you believe in,” Shoebridge said.
“Most members of the ALP are firmly behind marriage equality.”
The rally, which culminated in a march from the Town Hall, through the CBD and up Oxford St to Taylor Square, was a part of a National Day of Action, with 1,200 marching in Melbourne, 400 in Brisbane and smaller groups in Canberra, Perth and Adelaide.
Among those taking part in Sydney was June Page, who told the Star Observer she was hopeful that marriage equality would become a reality in this country in the near future.
“I feel very strongly about our love being equal. I don’t want to ask my partner to civil union me,” she said.
On December 3, supporters of marriage equality will gather at the Hyde Park fountain before marching to the ALP national conference at the Sydney Convention Centre in Darling Harbour.
by ALEX PITTAWAY