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equalmarriage1Despite discouraging weather in several cities, colourful crowds took to the streets in a nationwide day of action for marriage equality – in much larger numbers and with greater hope and spirit than they’d had eight years ago when the Equal Love protests first began.

Buoyant rallies held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Newcastle marked the eighth anniversary of the day former Prime Minister John Howard changed the Marriage Act to ensure same-sex couples would not be included.

 

The Equal Love crew estimate there were up to 3,000 people rallying in Melbourne (shown above), 2,000 in Brisbane, 1,000 in Sydney and Perth, 500 in Adelaide and Hobart, and around 150 in Canberra and Newcastle. Perth’s turnout was the city’s biggest ever seen for a marriage equality march.

The biggest news came from Adelaide’s rally where South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill declared his government will support a Greens state-based same-sex marriage bill.

“People should be entitled to express their own identity in any way they wish and the law shouldn’t become a barrier to prevent them from doing that,” he said. “So from my perspective, it’s a simple question of the dignity of the individual.”

Unfortunately some of the Equal Love speakers’ good news were drowned out by a persistent group of anti-gay street preachers with their own megaphones, who are a regular feature at LGBT protests in Adelaide.

Weatherill’s announcement follows a similar pledge last week by Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, who spoke at Hobart’s rally, where attendees signed a huge map of Tassie banner.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, protesters took to the steps of the State Library and then into the streets to fight for marriage equality for all Australians. Then on the steps of Parliament House, couples were ‘illegally’ married by a celebrant.

The rain and cold weather put itself on hold, instead bringing a relatively nice day. There was an overwhelming feeling of strength and positivity. Protesters had a clear message to deliver ‘Equality Now!’

There was a preacher who tried to rain on the Melbourne event by condemning same sex marriage and homosexuality, belting out scripture readings. The crowds yelled at him, condemning his bigotry.

After the protesters began their march to Parliament House, some younger members stayed behind with the preacher, staying close behind him, with the rainbow flag proudly on display in defiance. Anne Lewis and Joel De Vries – the two young people who lead that action – told Same Same: “If he has the right to be here and say what he is saying, then we have the right to be here too. That’s not Christianity, that is hate. We aren’t going till he does.”

Novocastrians turned out on droves on a cold, wet, windy day to add their voices to the nationwide marriage equality cry. In this group shot by Debbi Long, we love the sign:

The sun was shining on Brisbane’s Queen’s Park, and the BBQ food fueled the rainbowed Equal Love crew, who believe “we are closer than ever to seeing an end to this homophobia in law.”

Queensland’s LGBT citizens have been going through a tough time lately under their new government, so it’s nice to see so many smiles and a great community “we’re all in this together” vibe in our photos, below.

Community Action Against Homophobia’s rally got hundreds of Sydneysiders out on a grey and windy day, meeting outside the Town Hall.

The crowd heard from Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Australian Marriage Equality activist Alex Greenwich among a range of speakers, before heading to Oxford Street and finishing up in Taylor Square. The wind was so strong that several people had trouble holding onto their hand-made signs.

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