On the 1st of August 2009, I was amongst thousands of supporters at the National Day of Action for Same Sex Marriage rally in Fed Square, Melbourne.
This day of action is part of a nationwide campaign, Equal Love, which is in its fifth year of pressuring the government into legalising same sex marriages. In 2008, the federal government amended over 100 laws to allow same sex couples (domestic partners) the same financial and work-related entitlements as heterosexual couples.
Marriage, however, is still illegal for same sex couples. Many participants of the rally were dressed in wedding outfits, and later on, a total of 65 couples were (illegally) married, exchanging vows on the steps of the city’s registry office.
Besides wedding outfits, rainbow colours were of course also a popular feature:
The rally started with a gathering and some speeches at Fed Square, before taking to the streets. If you’re so inclined, here’s a video of the walk (“hey hey, ho ho, homophobia’s got to go!”)
Here are some photos from the walk:
For the rest of my pictures, take a look around this Flickr set: Equal Love.
Also, watch some videos from the same campaign, of “Mr Government” trying unsuccessfully to schmoooze “Ms Equality”
It was a very positive experience for me, to be around all these people. The parade had thousands of participants, many people in love, with their partners — all they want is to be able to marry each other. Straight people fighting for equal rights. Queer people fighting for their rights. In the end, it’s all just an effort to get love and equality recognised: why should anyone be allowed to police relationships between consenting adults?
As for police at the rally — sure there were police around…they were making sure everyone was safe, and that traffic was still going smoothly, letting the parade through first.
Of course, I came home that day to news that my friends were being tear-gassed, water cannoned, and abused by our FRU and police force in Malaysia, for taking a stand against the ISA. What can I say? The difference was stark.
I love Malaysia, but it breaks my heart when I read about the horrible things our government is capable of.
As for those in KL, Seksualiti Merdeka is now into its second year, and happening soon: 12th-16th August, at The Annexe, Central Market. I hope you attend, and find the event as edifying and rejuvenating as I found this rally.
Flickr: Equal Love (by Tilted World)
Official website: Equal love