Same sex couples fight for right to marriage

Gearing up for the same sex marriage protest in Lismore on Sunday are (l-r) Erif Benham, Dermot Ryan, Ian Gray, Katie Blume and a supporter who did not want to be named.

Its now happily celebrated in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom, but in Australia marriage between same sex couples is still a big no-no.

Creating change can only come from the ground up, according to local community activists, who are holding a protest at Spinks Park this Sunday, August 13, as part of a national day of action against the Australian Governments 2004 ban on same sex marriages.

In principle the day of action is about raising community awareness that gay and lesbian people do not have the same rights as heterosexuals, said local organiser and civil celebrant, Rose Hogan. We are saying that our relationships are as valid as anyone elses and we are being discriminated against. Formal relationship recognition is essential to achieve social equality and legal security for loving same sex couples and their families. Its time for legal discrimination to end and for same sex couples to be treated with full equality.

Another local organiser, Ian Gray, said homophobia is entrenched in Australian society and rates of homophobic violence are on the increase.

The ban on marriage and civil union represents institutional homophobia, said Ian. That homophobia directly contributes to threatening our safety and legal protections.

There will be several guest speakers at the event including Angela Pollard from the Community Legal Centre who will talk about discrimination and the law.

The protest starts at 12.30pm and people are encouraged to bring colourful banners and placards.

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