Rally of the rainbow
MORE than 5000 people gathered in the city in support of marriage equality in what organisers described as the biggest show of strength by same-sex rights advocates ever seen in South Australia.
A wave of campaigners adorned with rainbow flags, balloons and glitter stood on the steps of Parliament House and flooded North Tce, forcing traffic and trams to stop on the thoroughfare.
The vocal gathering was a diverse mix of ages, races and genders but they all had one message which was chanted loud and clear – “What do we want? Marriage equality! When do we want it? Now!”.
Some, like Laura Tanner, 33, of Kadina, had travelled from the country to be at the event.
“I drove for two hours to get here but I wasn’t going to miss out. It’s too important and we’ve got to show our support,” she said.
Speakers at the event included federal Senators Sarah Hanson Young and Penny Wong, and activists including Australian Marriage Equality co-chairman Alex Greenwich and the Rev Sue Wickwhile ham from Church of the Trinity at Clarence Park.
“This is not a religious matter. Do not be fooled or scared into thinking it is,” Ms Wickham told the crowd.
“None of the exemptions or religious freedoms that religious organisations currently have will be affected in the slightest.”
SA Minister Ian Hunter represented the State Government at the event but organisers said they hoped to get Premier Jay Weatherill to attend a second rally planned for October 22.
Earlier in the day, Mr Hunter announced the State Government would provide $100,000 in extra mental health and counselling services for the LGBTIQ community the marriage equality postal survey was conducted.
“With widespread concern the marriage equality debate will increase emotional and mental health issues among the LGBTIQ community, particularly among young people, the State Government will provide additional services to support them,” he said.
A small handful of anti-samesex marriage protesters were also at the rally, broadcasting prerecorded Bible verses through a sound system, which was drowned out by drumming and music from the Yes activists.
The rally comes as the No campaign claims that support for samesex marriage has dropped by more than one million votes after the High Court dismissed a challenge to the postal vote.
A poll of 4000 voters, which was undertaken before the court ruling, found 65 per cent in favour and 35 per cent against when forced to make a decision.
A second poll taken in the 10 days since the challenge was dismissed recorded a 7 per cent swing away from the Yes vote – equivalent to more than one million votes. A spokesman for the No campaign said the numbers were moving now that “Australians were presented with an alternative argument”.
SIGN OF TIMES: Engaged couple JoAnna Robinson and Kate Munro at the Yes to Marriage Equality! rally
EQUALITY PRIORITY: Senator Penny Wong joins marchers on King William St. Pictures: DYLAN COKER