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Equal Love Rights National Day of Action on August 12

Around the country, organisation is now underway for a national day of protest against homophobia. This is the third annual national protest to mark passage of the ban on same sex marriage through federal parliament on August 13th 2004. Last year this protest attracted 3, 500 people across the country. It has so far been endorsed by over forty organisations, including the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Transgender Victoria, the Gender Centre, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Australian Marriage Equality, and Community Action Against Homophobia. The demands of the protest are “Repeal the ban on same sex marriage”, “Give Us Civil Unions” and “Hands Off Same Sex Adoption”.

Equal Love, a working group of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, is organising a rally in Melbourne, Sunday 12 August. “Since black Friday 13 August 2004, the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby have committed a lobbying campaign to raise awareness and therefore remove the discriminatory amendment to the Marriage Act,” said Lobby Co-convenor Aly M, “Recent polls show that there is demonstrated support for same sex couples by the Australian public, so it is time the laws recognised us in every sphere.”

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“It is unacceptable that one letter in a box on a birth certificate defines relationships. Relationships deserve equal recognition regardless of the sex, gender identity and intersex status of the partners.” says Sally Goldner of Transgender Victoria

“Recognition of same-sex de facto couples is important but it’s not enough. Partners in same-sex relationships also deserve the right to marry, or if marriage isn’t for them, to formalise their union through a relationship registry. Equality for same-sex couples doesn’t only mean accessing the same range of spousal entitlements. It means having the same range of choices when it comes to how relationships are legally recognised.” says Rodney Croome, spokesperson of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group

“The Commonwealth government continues to lag behind every state and territory in Australia, and many countries overseas, which now recognises same-sex relationships equally. Instead of progress, we have seen broken promises and insulting legislation invalidating same-sex marriages. In the lead up to the federal election, we congratulate the organisers for ensuring that relationship equality is kept firmly on the agenda. The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW) will continue to press this issue with politicians from across the political spectrum.” says Ghassan Kassisieh, Spokesperson, Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW).

“Philip Ruddock has indicated that an attack on same sex adoption is coming up in the lead up to the election. This is not only the denial of the rights of same sex couples, but also the denial of the rights of children. Children have the right to be adopted by parents who love them, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. This protest will send a strong message to our federal government to keep its hands off same sex adoption,” says Shelly Dahl of Community Action Against Homophobia.

“Denying people the right to marry is to treat them like children or second class citizens. Worse yet, it is a kind of stigma or shame and a way of dishonouring people,” says Pastor Karl Hand of the Metropolitan Community Church,“ MCC believes that all people are worthy of respect, and that’s because they are created in God’s image, their relationships and marriages are valid in God’s eyes, no matter what the government may say.”

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