Rally of the rain­bow

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - MATT GILBERTSON

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

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