Mt Isa resident James Newburrie has organised the first pro-gay marriage rally in Mt Isa outside the offices of prominent homophobic MP Bob Katter. About 70 people attended the rally on 11/9/2011. The rally aimed to show Bob Katter that not all of Mt Isa supported his homophobic views and see if Bob Katter would apologise for his long career of making homophobic statements. In particular James was outraged that Bob Katter had recently cited a petition of 32,000 people against gay marriage as "32,000 reasons" to oppose the reform. Katter had also recently helped raise money for an organisation that supports expelling gay students from NSW high schools. James wanted his rally to part of a campaign to gather 32,000 people to "like" a page on Facebook supporting gay marriage. James also had to overcome resistance from the Mt Isa council to his rally when they demanded he provide public liability insurance which he was eventually able to obtain from the Sex Party. The rally received national media coverage as was a very successful and brave effort from a self-described "first time activist".
Related: Jame's explanation of why the rally had a point -- Equal love rally attracts more than one man and his flag:Brisbane ABC radio -- Katter urged to walk backwards to Burke: World Today -- Australian Marriage Equality Press release -- Youtube statement by James Newburrie
32,000 people gave their names to be part of a list that opposes equal love. Politicians like Bob Katter, Barnaby Joyce and John Murphy accepted this list and sent press-releases saying that these names were 32,000 reasons to oppose gay marriage.
Our goal is to collect at least 32,001 names of people who do support equal love.
Please remember - let's keep it civil. Let's play the ball, not the m...an.
This is my first attempt at activism (and I'm making my fair share of mistakes) but the three objectives of my campaign are to:
1. To balance the 32,000 names that opposed gay marriage on the ACL list with 32,001 who support equality;
2. Hold Mount Isa's first Equal Love rally on Sunday 11 September
3. Convince The Hon. Bob Katter, MP to walk from Mt Isa to Cloncurry with James Newburrie to raise money for teen suicide prevention and to stop his hateful, anti-gay rhetoric. If he won't walk, then he should stand in front of a news camera and apologise for a career of vilifying homosexuals.
Statement by organiser James Newburrie on the September 11th rally via Facebook
I truly wish I could reply to each one of you personally. Thank you to everyone who has clicked like or expressed congratulations or pride with what we've done here. Thank you to everyone who has wished us well, and thank you to everyone who stood next to a short fat guy who was holding a sign. Especially to Juliet and Nyah who drove from Cairns (12 hours) to be here. I'm exhausted, sunburnt and ...about to go to bed. Today 70 people stood up and declared in one voice "You've gone too far, Mr. Katter", and thousands more were with us in spirit.
Some of you have called me brave, I'm not brave: what is there to fear when you've all got my back? :)
We won today, but there is more work ahead of us. Don't worry, I have an idea for round two.