Res­i­dents rally for gay mar­riage

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

A PROUD con­tin­gent from the Dou­glas re­gion will march on the La­bor Party’s national con­fer­ence in Syd­ney this week­end in sup­port of gay mar­riage.

Port Dou­glas’s Lisa Whe­lan and Liz Col­lyer will be joined by six other lo­cal gay mar­riage sup­port­ers in the rally which is ex­pected to at­tract thou­sands of peo­ple out­side the La­bor national con­fer­ence on Satur­day.

Prime Min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard plans to in­tro­duce a Bill to Fed­eral Par­lia­ment en­shrin­ing gay mar­riage as law but it is likely to be de­feated as it will be a con­science vote for La­bor politi­cians and only re­quires a hand­ful of the 73 mem­bers of the Govern­ment to vote against it to fail.

Ms Gil­lard is her­self op­posed to the Bill, de­spite polls in­di­cat­ing more than 60 per cent of Aus­tralians sup­port same sex mar­riage.

“Ju­lia Gil­lard and the La­bor Party need to show some lead­er­ship on this is­sue and en­dorse gay mar­riage as pol­icy rather than let the is­sue by be side­lined by a small mi­nor­ity of politi­cians,” she said.

“We will be ral­ly­ing out­side the national con­fer­ence to show these politi­cians what the im­pact of their un­in­formed de­ci­sion has on peo­ple.”

The Queens­land Govern­ment was last night ex­pected to pass the Civil Part­ner­ships Bill which al­lows for the le­gal recog­ni­tion of same-sex re­la­tion­ships but is largely to­kenis­tic and does not carry the same le­gal pro­tec­tion as mar­riage.

“It’s a step in the right di­rec­tion but does noth­ing to ad­dress the in­equities in hu­man rights - it re­in­forces the no­tion gay peo­ple are some­how dif­fer­ent and dis­tances them from the rest of the com­mu­nity,” Ms Whe­lan said.

“In­tro­duc­ing same-sex mar­riage will be the real be­gin­ning of re­mov­ing the dis­crim­i­na­tion against gay peo­ple.

“It will take many years but I dream of the day that we can look back in the same way we do now about al­low­ing women to vote and look at the ab­sur­dity of how it used to be, be­fore we knew bet­ter.

“When the laws change I don’t know if we’ll get mar­ried or not, but I re­ally would like to have the choice to show and have it recog­nised, that my re­la­tion­ship with Liz is based on the same foun­da­tions as any other mar­riage and that is com­mit­ment, re­spect and love.”

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