On This Gay Day: Thousands turned out to support marriage equality

In 2015 thousands turned out to support in marriage equality in Perth

On this day in 2015 Perth saw one of the biggest ever political rallies for LGBTIQ+ rights when the Love is Love rally was held in Russell Square, Northbridge.

One broadcaster estimated that more than 10,000 people turned up to demand the Abbott government take action on marriage equality and allow same-sex couples to wed. Historic changes has already taking place in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States.

The rally organised by GetUp! drew a massive crowd despite gloomy weather and people stood listening to speeches from community members, advocates and politicians as the rain poured down.

The event had originally be scheduled to take place in the Northbridge Piazza, but as the number of RSVPs swelled, organisers moved the event down the block to Russell Square with the speakers delivering their personal stories from the Rotunda.

Watch videos of all the speeches from the rally. 

Taking to the stage were Ingrid Cumming, Sally Rugg, Alannah MacTiernan, Rachel Siewert, Samantha Davies and the Reverend Peter Emmanuel, Brian Greig, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, Joey Cookman McCauley and Steph Hastings.

Despite the massive turnout at the event it would be another two and half years before the government changed the laws.

On the morning of the rally Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce delivered a message to the LGBTIQ+ communities saying, “Everybody doesn’t get everything they want.”

The Nationals leader who was against changing the laws said allowing same sex couple to wed would be like making “a diamond a square” and would be viewed by our Asian trading partners as “decadent”.

Bushranger Captain Moonlite was born on this day in 1842

Was Captain Moonlite Australia’s gay bushranger? Some historians think there is overwhelming evidence that he was.

Andrew George Scott was born in Ireland on this day in 1842, the son of an Anglican clergyman he trained as an engineer in London. In 1861 when he was nineteen the family moved to New Zealand.

He served in the New Zeland military during the Māori Wars and was wounded in both legs. After a long convalescence he was also accused of malingering and court martialed. He later moved to Australia and began training as a clergyman.

He was sent to the gold mining town of Mount Egerton, but turned instead to robbing a bank instead, leaving letters after his crime signed Captain Midnite. After spending some time in prison, he continued his career as a band robber.

During a prison stint he met prison he met a young man named James Nesbitt. Handwritten letters from Scott to Nesbitt are overtly romantic, and historians have speculated that their relationship was probably sexual as well.

Captain Moonite’s gang of bushrangers robbed people across Victoria and New South Wales, but their escapades came to an end in 1879 during a shootout with police. Nesbitt was shot and killed and Scott was captured.

Scott was sentenced to death and hung at Darlinghurst Jail on 20th January 1880. He wrote a series of death-cell letters where he spoke of his love for Nesbitt and he went to the gallows with a ring woven from a lock of Nesbitt’s hair on his finger.

Prior to his execution he asked for his body to buried alongside Nesbitt’s. A request that was denied by the prison authorities.

In 1995 his remains were exhumed from Rookwood Cemetary and reinterred in Gundagai next to Nesbitt’s grave.

In 2020 author Gary Linnell published a book about Scott’s life. Listen to our interview with Gary Linnell.

OIP Staff, images: Graeme Watson. This post was first published in 2021 and has been updated.  

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