Melbourne activists picketed an anti-marriage equality forum last night held by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).
The rally, organised by Equal Love, was held in front of the CrossCulture Church of Christ which was hosting the ACL’s ‘Defining Marriage’ forum.
Equal Love spokesman Anthony Wallace said he estimated around 150 people picketed the front of the church, chanting slogans and holding placards.
As protesters flooded bustling Swanston St as city workers headed home, Wallace said Equal Love supporters were mostly “embraced” by pedestrians.
“We’ve certainly seen a swing in public sentiment … and that’s evident in the public polls,” he said.
The latest Galaxy poll taken in February found 62 percent of Australians believed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
“I was speaking to a gentleman here at the picket tonight, he’s married, he has children, he has no clear allegiance but he sees this as a civil right,” Wallace said.
“He’s now actively jumped on the marriage equality bandwagon.”
Wallace said they had encountered no problems with the church or its staff but said their campaign was directly opposed to the ACL.
“It’s the Australian Christian Lobby, they’re the ones who are doing all the damage,” he said.
“They’re scaremongering, giving out facts that aren’t true.”
The protesters were hoping to disrupt the forum inside the church which was being webcast.
But not everyone supported Equal Love’s efforts to hinder last night’s forum.
The Star Observer spoke to one man who said he was attending the Defining Marriage forum in reaction to Equal Love’s protest.
Kalen, 26, said the protesters were doing a disservice to the LGBTI community by picketing the church.
“They’re rude the way they’re carrying on so it just made me want to go to the protest inside to see a seminar to know what the Christians are about.”
He said he was not a Christian but insisted marriage was a religious institution and if LGBTI people wanted recognition, they should push for an alternative such as civil unions.
“They’re trying to alter a religion they don’t believe in. How many people here are Christian?” he asked of the protesters.
The ACL also released this new advertisement about marriage yesterday. What do you think?
The next major rally for marriage equality supporters will be the eighth anniversary of the same-sex marriage ban on August 11 2004.
“We need our voice to show that it doesn’t just affect gay, lesbian, bi, transgender and intersex individuals, it affects families and families are made up of heterosexuals as well,” Wallace said.
“It affects them that they can’t celebrate their siblings, or their child’s wedding. It affects the broader community and we really need the broader community to come on board.”
Rallies will be held in most capital cities on August 11.