Thousands march for same-sex marriage across Australia

17 May 2010

By Matt Akersten

Over 4,000 people took to the streets in Melbourne, over 1,000 rallied in Sydney, and many more protested in Brisbane, Wollongong, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth this afternoon as the ongoing fight for same-sex marriage continues across Australia.

Lord of the Rings' wizard star Sir Ian McKellen stirred the Melbourne crowd outside the Victorian State Library with his coming out story, telling the crowd why the ongoing struggle for LGBT equality around the world is so important to him. One of the biggest petitions ever presented in the nation, 100,000 signatures from Australian citizens demanding equal marriage rights for all Australians was presented to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. The assembled protesters also enjoyed a show from drag diva Pollyfilla (pictured).

Meanwhile in Sydney, gay radio personality and newsreader on 2dayFM Geoff Field MC'ed a 1,000-strong rally outside the Town Hall. An audio message from Dannii Minogue pledging her total support for the casue was played to the cheering throng. Armed with a mixture of signs, banners, and a giant rainbow flag, the rally then made its way noisily through the streets of central Sydney to Hyde Park, where a 100,000 signature petition supporting same-sex marriage was handed to a Green MP to present to parliament, before gender-free campaigner Norrie May-Welby performed a show.

Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) co-convenor Ben Cooper tells Same Same he's very happy with the crowd numbers in Sydney, which are easily double those of the last rally back in March.

Other major Australian cities also held marches, with many including light-hearted 'kiss in' photo opportunities.

Another day of protest action is planned for 14 August, marking the anniversary of the date former Prime Minister John Howard sought to outlaw same-sex marriage Australia-wide.

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