Another year, another rally, and thankfully this time I remembered to bring my earplugs to shut out the ear-splitting screech of that jargon-ridden young woman who has not yet learned: either scream, or use a bullhorn, but not both.

It was gratifying to see that Hobart, Sydney and Brisbane all drew larger numbers than before: saddening to see that Madame Screech and her revolutionary cohorts have successfully driven away large numbers of potential Melbourne supporters. Numbers at the Melbourne rally were clearly down on previous turnouts and nowhere near the organisers’ absurd claim of 6000 — I doubt more than 1000 marched.

Perhaps we are growing tired of pushing the same barrow. I certainly am. I really do not understand why we are even debating this any more. Nowadays most people are saying, “Why is this an issue? Of course equal marriage is right”.

And if it’s not marriage, it’s not equal, end of story. To enact a civil unions or other marriage-mimicking scheme, without also enacting equal marriage at the same time, would be to enshrine apartheid-style discrimination in law. Surely no one in their right minds can possibly support this?

I have no objection to a situation where we have marriage and civil unions both equally open to everyone, but how anyone can suggest accepting, even temporarily, a situation where there is one law for heterosexuals and a different one for us pink people, is beyond me.

But that is where the pollies seem to be herding us.

Look into my crystal ball.

Labor is re-elected, just. They allow a conscience vote on equal marriage. It fails, because most Labor and Liberal MPs oppose it. They claim they can’t move on equal marriage because there is no ‘consensus’.

Labor then introduces a minimalist civil union scheme, which the Greens reluctantly support because it’s ‘at least a step in the right direction’. They tell us this sell-out is proof they’re a grown-up political party now. Our second-class status is written into the law.

This is where I fear we’re heading. If we let civil unions happen, it will block true equality for years. But we won’t stop this by screaming in the streets. It’s time to hit the posh dinner tables and the smart luncheon speaker circuit.

And after we get marriage, then we can start on civil unions, what we call them, what they do/do not confer, whether government should get out of the relationships business, and how many ALP strategists can dance on the head of a pin in a backroom at party conference.

If people like Melbourne radio shock-jocks Derryn Hinch and now Neil Mitchell can see the light and argue for equal marriage, then the next government and Parliament should be able to get their heads around it.

We just need to give them a hand. Instead of screaming at them.

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