Equal Love marriage rally calls for parliamentary vote on marriage equality

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Hundreds of people gathered in Perth’s Murray Street Mall for a rally calling for marriage equality yesterday.

While meetings like this one over the last year have had a focus on the government’s plan for a plebiscite, now that that policy appears dead in the water, the speakers returned to calling for the issue to be dealt with via a parliamentary vote.

Equal Love call on the Labor party to bind MPs to marriage equality policy

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Equal Love’s Sam Cavallaro opened the proceedings noting that advocates were not just calling for the Liberal and National party’s to give their members a free vote but for also for the Labor party to bind their MPs to the party’s pro-marriage equality policy.

The rally organiser expressed his disappointment in both major parties.

“One of the things I see in the wake of the plebiscite is the renewed calls for a free vote.” Cavallaro said. “Which is calling for the Liberal party to allow for a conscience vote for their members on marriage equality.

“While I think that this is something that could ultimately see marriage equality, I don’t think this is something that we should also be calling for in the same way that the Labor party is as well.

“I think we need to keep in mind what the Labor party has done in terms of marriage equality, and the fact that they are also in a sense, stalling on marriage equality as well.

“We don’t just want to see a free vote, we don’t just want to have the politicians -who have so far shown that they don’t have a conscience when it comes to LGBTI rights – having a conscience vote.

“We want the Labor party to bind on marriage equality, in the same way that have binded other issues in the past.”

Cavalaro said if Labor party bound their MPs to vote positively in the issue it would send a clear message to the government that they meant business on the issue and were respecting the overwhelming majority of Australia’s who want to see marriage equality legislated.

Lynn Maclaren: It’s time for marriage equality

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The Green’s Lynn Maclaren, inspired by a recent trip to San Francisco, spoke about how equal rights can be achieved while also celebrating the LGBTI communities unique culture.

“The danger, divisive and expensive plebiscite has been defeated.” Maclaren said, “The push for Australian marriage equality carries great weight for me, both personally and in my role as a member of parliament.”

The State MLC for the Southern Metro region reflected on many years of campaigning for the recognition of all loving relationships between consenting adults, including tabling a state based bill for marriage equality.

Maclaren highlighted The Greens long standing support for marriage equality noting Adam Bandt’s marriage equality bill in 2012.

“It’s twelve years since Howard amended the marriage act. That’s a long time to campaign for change, and we haven’t stopped.” Maclaren said.

The Greens MLC said now that the plebiscite was quashed there was an opportunity for federal politicians to deal with the issue once and for all.

Advocates call for immediate action

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Also speaking at the rally was Caleb Holmes who spoke to the crowd about the effectiveness of public rallies and Jacqueline Blackburn (pictured above) who outlined the effect the current laws have on people who are transgender.

“Trans people are also excluded from the narrative around restrictive marriage” Blackburn said.

The fact that transgender people in marriages are forced to divorce to be able to fully transition is something Blackburn said is not highlighted enough in the debate.

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Clare Francis from the National Union of Students spoke to the crowd and said it was time for politicians to prove themselves through actions rather than words.

Following the speeches the crowd marched through the city centre.

Head to OUTinPerth’s Facebook page to watch the speeches. ¬†

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Graeme Watson, Photographs: Guy Gomeze 

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