Rally and March for Equal Marriage Rights – Melbourne, 13 August 2011

"Polly Filla", "Bumpa Love" drag acts with make dancer on stage

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. Unlike the ‘dress rehearsal’ the previous Wednesday, when the attendance must have been a shade disappointing for the organisers, this time all available space at the State Library was filled, and the march and marriage celebration outside the Victorian Registry Office certainly no less impressive than the last – though there was no sign of the red-haired Julia Gillard puppet from last August, which was a shame….
The accompanying videos should speak for themselves as to what was said and done, with just a few photos here for good measure.

From the Facebook page for the event:

Rally for Equal Marriage rights! No to homophobia! No to Discrimination!

All LGBTI & Straight people who support marriage equality are invited to come to Australia’s largest illegal wedding ceremony and protest march.

On the seventh anniversary of the marriage act being re-written, we at Equal Love and the majority of Australians demand equal rights now!

7 years of marriage inequality is 7 years too long! Come and tell the ALP to change the marriage act now!

In the lead up to the ALP national conference later this year it’s vital that ALL LGBTI and supporters of this campaign come out in our thousands at this rally and illegal wedding!

Prizes on offer for best placard, so get your creative juices flowing and bring out the Texta. Certificates will be given to those couple wanting to take part in the ceremony to take place on the steps of the Marriage Registry. Get our those wedding garments and join us at the countries biggest rally for Marriage Equality hosted by Tracy Bartram in Melbourne on Sat 13 August.

Tracy Bartram at the microphone

Tracy Bartram was an 'outspoken' MC...

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Annette Xiberras

Wurundjeri elder Annette Xiberras gave a "Welcome to Country"


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Some placards in the crowd:
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Placard - If Jesus had 2 dads, then why can't I?

Placard - Always the Best Man, never the f......g  bride
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ASU Branch Secretary Ingrid Stitt

ASU Branch Secretary Ingrid Stitt

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Nathan Valvo

Nathan Valvo


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Placard - They can marry in New York (Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street)

Another placard in the crowd


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Jade Eckhaus, NUS Queer Officer

Jade Eckhaus, NUS Queer Officer


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Videos:
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The rally –
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The march –
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The marriage –

See also Equal Love Victoria.

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Equal Love ‘Wedding Rehearsal’ in Bourke Street Mall – Melbourne, 10 August 2011

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:

'Bride' and 'groom' pose with 'clergyman' and page-boy and bridesmaid in Mall

It was a very small affair but attracted a lot of attention, no doubt helped by the presence of a suitably dressed ‘bride’ and very young attendants, who also took a turn with the leafletting:

Child offers leaflet to passer-by
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Schoolgirls gather around the pageboy and bridesmaid

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Man in military uniform ignores children with leaflets

No luck with this one ....

Whether rain kept possible participants away is hard to say, but preparations for the main rally are certainly not being helped by the unexplained disappearance of the Equal Love website – there remains, however, a Facebook event page.

Equal Love convenor Ali Hogg addressed passers-by:
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Ali Hogg with megaphone
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as did the representative of the clergy:
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Man dressed as priest speaks from behind Equal Love banner
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There was then a sort of wedding procession through the Mall, heading ultimately for Parliament House:

Moving with placards through the shoppers
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Moving past David Jones store
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Outside Sportsgirl store
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The 'bride' poses outside jewellers store
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Placard advertising the rally on the 13th of August at the State Library

Ali has given a recent interview to Melbourne Community Voice .

MC at the upcoming rally will be Tracy Bartram, and an interview with her can be read here.

The rally has been advertised on Melbourne Indymedia’s Event Calendar.

Rally for Same-Sex Marriage Rights – 14 August 2010

Equal Love banner at start of march

People who were at the 15 May rally – Melbourne’s contribution to the International Day of Action against Homophobia (reported in part on this site– were saying that it was larger and more colourful, but Saturday’s rally was still large, colourful, and very loud… It also featured an exceptionally long list of speakers, though the crowd’s patience at the State Library was only noticeably tried by ALP’s Cathy Bowtell – see below.

After the speeches there was a march, not to Parliament House this time but to the Old Treasury Building, which houses the Victorian Marriage Registry. There broadcaster and activist Jenny O’Keefe, who is also a registered marriage celebrant, performed a marriage ceremony for a large number of couples, providing each with a signed certificate, which under the present legislation will not be recognised by the state. Which brings us back to the theme of the rally.

Video footage of the day’s speeches and the march is in preparation.

Photos from the State Library:

Monique Schafter, MC, speaking

Monique Schafter, known amongst other things from the ABC’s Hungry Beast, was MC. She saw it as ‘powerful stuff’ ‘fighting for equal rights just a week before a federal election. She listed some other places around the world where same-sex marriage is a hot issue – Argentina, ‘Proposition 8’ in California, for example – while in Australia the situation has not been so positive…

Annette Xiberras speaking

Wurundjeri elder Annette Xiberras gave a moving Welcome to Country, prefacing it with an account of her own experiences of institutional and personal discrimination following the death of her partner.

Eilis Hughes speaking

Eilis Hughes from Rainbow Families Council said, amongst other things, that recent research from the University of Queensland had shown that three-quaters of queer parents wanted to be married. Some have got married overseas in countries where it is legal, but the Australian Government still wouldn’t recognise these marriages. Some don’t want to get married, but all want their kids to grown up in families that have the same status as their friends’ families. She has a three-year old, and intends to take her to her local member, Julia Gillard, to answer the child’s question ‘why aren’t you married?’. She recalled that access to IVF for lesbians had been won by people power, a sign that change can be achieved.

Anthony Bendall

Anthony Bendall, co-convener of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, acknowledged the elders of the Wurundjeri people, but also all those who had gathered [at the State Library] in the past, making the site so significant to Melbourne … [for] protest, struggle and dissent. He also referred to the recent court decision in the US. It was a national disgrace that the 2004 amendments to the Marriage Act in Australia explicitly excluded gay men, lesbians, and many bisexual, transexual and intersex people from marrying under Australian law. “The Marriage Act is underpinned by the view that our relationships and commitments are inferior and that we can never be full and equal members of Australian society. That is why it must be changed.”

Ruby Rose speaking

MTV host Ruby Rose, having got everyone to hug the person next to them, added “It’s 2010 guys, and when is the government going to start listening and realise that we should be able to get married just like anybody else?” It was not just a question for people who want to get married, but of having the option…

Adrian Li Donni

Actor and singer Adrian Li Donni sang “So Close”, even getting a reaction from the huge Julia Gillard puppet which by now had joined the gathering:

Puppet Julia Gillard

Cathy Bowtell speaking

ALP candidate for the seat of Melbourne Cathy Bowtell did her best to defend the Labor Government’s record on reform, citing changes to industrial laws, but was loudly heckled and all but shouted down when calling for the ‘hard slog of building coalitions’ etc…. There were loud calls of ‘Vote Greens’ and indeed, she was forced to make her speech against a backdrop of Greens placards.

Adam Bandt speaking

Adam Bandt – who followed Cathy Bowtell, and is the Greens candidate for the same seat – was greeted with loud cheers. He condemned the two major parties for their concentration on voters in a handfull of marginal electorates, as if the rest of the community didn’t matter. Instead of a vision for a fairer and more sustainable Australia ‘what we’ve had is a competition for who can be the toughest on asylum seekers, who can delay action on climate change the most, and who can take the most hardline and conservative position against gay marriage.’ He undertook that if elected he would make it a priority in his first term to get another vote on the Act, to remove discrimination, and that they [the Greens] would keep doing this ‘until the laws of this country recognise the very basic principle, that love is love, and love makes a family.’

Drag act Polyfilla

Polyfilla in full flight

Kathy Hughes speaking

Kath Larkin, National Union of Students Queer officer, introduced herself as ‘a second-class citizen of this country’. She had been 15 when the Howard Government passed the laws banning same-sex marriage. This had had a noticeable impact on her and her classmates: “Bigots were given a great big flashing green light, and they ran with it.” But there had been resistance, and now there is ‘overwhelming support from the majority of Australians.’ She went on to discuss the mental health aspects of discrimination – LGBTI people were at least six times more likely to commit suicide -“Homophobia kills!” – but on the other hand research in the US had shown that where same-sex marriage had been legalised, homophobic violence had decreased, and the mental and physical health of LGBTI people had improved.

Ali Hogg speaking

Ali Hogg, Melbourne convener of Equal Love, rounded off this stage of proceedings by expressing thanks to a long list of those who had helped make the day, before launching the march.

Also at the rally:

Students with placards - My school is homophobic

Representatives of the Australian Democrats

On the march:

Socialist Party banner - Workers Unite against Homophobia

Puppet Julia Gillard on the march

Arriving at the steps of the Old Treasury Building

On the steps of the Old Treasury Building

Jenny O'Keefe signing a marriage certificate

Jenny O'Keefe signing a marriage certificate

See report on Equal Love website, and there is a large collection of photos on John Wilson’s blog