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   Apr 21

Thousands brave rain in support of same-sex marriage at Perth ‘Love Rally’

Thousands flock to Northbridge for Perth’s “love Rally” in support of marriage equality Photo: Ray Sparvell Despite the rain supporters of same sex marriage chanted ‘love is love’ on Sunday Photo: Ray Sparvell
Nanjing Night Net

Supporters at the ‘Love Rally’ create hearts with their hands to show backing of same sex marriage

Tearne Harrison, left, and Alex Bennett at the Perth ‘Love Rally’ Photo: Ray Sparvell

Mark McGowan and Alannah MacTiernan were among those to show their support at the rally

Perth expected to break love rally record

Rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of supporters at Australia’s largest turn out of people behind marriage equality in Northbridge’s Russell Square on Sunday.

Organisers initial claimed the Perth “Love Rally” was greater than that of the Sydney, Melboune and Canberra rallies combined.

Recent Sydney and Melbourne rallies attracted around 2500 each while Canberra broke the 3000 mark, but in the lead up to Perth’s own rally as many as 16,000 had pledged their intention to attend on Facebook.

Just after 1pm the crowds were continuing to build while those under umbrellas chanted “Love is love”.

The rain, however, dented the enthusiasm of some of those pledges and organisers and police agreed that around 5000 had turned up to the peaceful, but enthusiastic rally.

Speakers included organisers, politicians, clergy, parents and grandparents of same sex partners and couples themselves.

The rally cry was to create the momentum for a cross-party, free conscience, vote after federal politicians return to Canberra in August after their winter break. They were encouraged to leave a message for their politicans on 1300 663 679

“Let’s break the telephone system,” co-organiser and deputy director of Australian Marriage Equality, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, told the crowd as they they all keyed the number into their smartphones.

Among the turn out was Perth federal MP Alannah MacTiernan, who said the rally was “brilliant” and that it was great to see such a big response from all sections of the community in support of the marriage equality cause.

“Australia once led the way in social inclusiveness including the woman’s vote. Now we’re dragging the chain – we’re way behind,” she said.

Ms MacTiernan said the rally sent a strong message to politicians who were either too scared to take a stand, sitting on the fence or out to be divisive.

“This rally shows them the depth of support for this cause. History shows whenever our society has embraced change – it has become better for it,” she said.

Tearne Harrison, 23, of Midland said she and partner Alex Bennett, 28, were at the rally because it was a great cause.

“Everyone deserves their say on marriage equality,” Ms Harrison, a sales representative, said.

“Same sex couples should have the same rights and their relationship should have the same legitimacy as everybody else’s.”

State Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said that marriage equality’s time had come.

“Ten years ago Australians would have said ‘no’ [to marriage equality], today they’d say ‘yes’. That’s because Australians are tolerant, fair-minded people who want everybody to have every opportunity in life. Gay and lesbian people should have the same opportunities as everybody else,” he said.

“I call on Mr Abbott and the federal government to allow a conscience vote and to allow this vote to come on. Listen to the people of Australia.”.

Mr Hinton-Teoh said the turn-out was fantastic despite the weather.

“It shows the nation how strong the support for marriage equality really is. People came out in the rain in their thousands to support the cause and make sure their voices are heard. Canberra is going to hear this.

“We want to ensure our rallies reflect the diversity of support that we have – mums, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, colleagues.”

Mr Hinton-Teoh said while Labor and Greens politicians spoke at the rally, the Coalition was absent.

“It must be difficult to be champions of marriage equality in the Coalition, to be able to speak out while they are still bound by party policy,” he said.

“I can only imagine the energy we are going to generate with a cross-party free vote in support of marriage equality. We’re hoping that’s going to come in August.”

“Perth – thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s a beautiful thing to experience,” Mr Hinton-Teoh said.

Further love rallies will be held in Brisbane and Adelaide with encore visits to Sydney and Melbourne over the next four weeks. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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