RAIN failed to deter marriage equality supporters at a rally held in Ipswich last Saturday that saw some high profile – and unlikely – bipartisan political pairings speaking in favour of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Hundreds of supporters in the city southwest of Brisbane came together with wide-ranging federal, state and local political representatives in an effort to keep marriage equality on the national radar.
Speaking to the crowd that filled the Studio 188 performing arts centre, Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters condemned what she saw as delaying tactics used by the federal Coalition Government.
“The proposed plebiscite on the subject of marriage equality is just a delaying mechanism, the federal government knows full well that the community supports marriage equality,” Waters said.
Fellow Queensland Senator and former Palmer United Party member Glen Lazarus agreed, telling the crowd that marriage equality was gaining more support every day as people discovered its impact and importance for LGBTI community members.
Ipswich state Labor MP Jennifer Howard said continued discrimination against the LGBTI community — and against any marginalised group — affected the entire community and prevented many from living a full and rewarding life.
Australian Marriage Equality deputy director Ivan Hinton-Teoh told the crowd that supportive votes within parliament were being won over gradually and they only needed seven more to achieve successful passage of legislation.
Local Ipswich councillors Paul Tully, Andrew Antoniolli and Victor Attwood also threw their weight behind marriage equality and a challenge was issued to the City of Ipswich to follow others around the country – most recently Melbourne – to pass a motion of support.
It wasn’t all politicians who spoke in favour of marriage equality, as community members also shared their personal stories.
There was disappointment expressed that the federal MPs for Blair and Wright, Labor’s Shayne Neumann and the LNP’s Scott Buchholz – who both oppose marriage equality – failed to attend.
Organisers called on Neumann to join the majority of fellow Labor MPs in supporting marriage equality.
“In his maiden speech, Shayne Neumann said: ‘I thank my parents for instilling in me what I consider to be true Labor values of social justice, equality of opportunity and compassion for others’,” organisers said.
“If this was true, Shayne Neumann would come out and express his compassion for the LGBTI community, acknowledge the injustice of ongoing discrimination in this country and support changes to the Marriage Act that allow all Australians to get married.”