Rallies protest gay marriage rejection in Australia

30 Nov 2009

Crowds have gathered in Australian cities calling for marriage equality after a bill to endorse gay unions was rejected by the Senate.

A Senate inquiry into same-sex marriage on Friday dismissed the Greens' marriage equality bill, while the ACT government this week struck a deal with the federal government to accept a civil union scheme.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Alex Greenwich said strong attendances by more than 2,000 people at rallies in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, ACT, Adelaide and Lismore on Saturday to launch a national year of action showed positive community support.

"I think the bill's rejection has re-energised people's commitment to marriage equality," he told AAP.

He said same-sex marriage could become a key issue in the lead-up to the next federal election.

"The inquiry put on the official record thousands of personal stories about the way marriage discrimination hurts, harms and hinders same-sex couples, their families and the nation - stories we will continue to bring to the attention of politicians and the public," Mr Greenwich said.

In Brisbane, Shelly Argent from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays said the time was right to speak out.

"It's time for us all to be part of change by speaking out and letting government know it's time for change," she said.

In Canberra, Australian National University student association (ANUSA) representatives met on Saturday with Labor senator Kate Lundy to discuss changing marriage laws.

ANUSA sexuality officer Ben Koval said the university's sexuality department would participate in a same-sex marriage year of action in 2010.

"The campaign for equal marriage is central to our purpose, as it concerns the rights of queer students," Mr Koval said.

"While the report was a disappointing set back, the campaign for equality will continue."

The Senate inquiry recommended the Australian Law Reform Commission review relationship laws to ensure "national consistency", already Labor policy.

Article taken from www.ninemsn.com.au