Same-sex marriage and refugee activists were the main groups protesting outside the Park Hyatt hotel in Melbourne when Prime Minister Julia Gillard was delivering a speech to a lunch of the AsiaLink and Asia Society (http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/speech-asialink-and-asia-society-lunch...).
Subsection 5(1) of the Australian Marriage Act 1961 defines marriage as ‘...the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’ In these nineteen words, Australian law promotes inequality, marginalises and discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) Australians. Same sex marriage, the celebration and recognition of love and commitment by members of the same gender, is outlawed by the Australian Government in the grotesquely out-dated Marriage Act 1961.
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
Drag queens provided a colourful finale to a rally that really shouldn’t have been necessary, a point made by more than one speaker – seven years since the re-writing on the Marriage Act to exclude same-sex couples, and seven years of rallying and campaigning for equality is seven years too long.
Leading up to the rally planned for Saturday 13 August marking the 7th anniversary of the re-writing of the Marriage Act to exclude same-sex couples, Equal Love held a mid-week 'Wedding Rehearsal' in the Bourke Street Mall today, Wednesday.