Rally Melbourne

Equality. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it?

With an election looming and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promising to allow a conscience vote on Equal Marriage within the 100 days of his re-election, is it a wonder that we want to get out there, put some pressure on the Pollies and get our voices heard?  Saturday the 17th of August may be your last day to do it.

I think not.

At the forefront of the battlefield in Melbourne is activist Ali Hogg. Convener of Equal love Melbourne since 2009, Ali has organized more rallies than she can remember. Saturday’s rally promises to excite your political senses and sense of community for our gay little world. You will leave with a sense of empowerment after we have marched to the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House!

Saturday’s rally will see speakers such as Adam Bandt (Greens MP), Luke Hilakari (Victorian Trades Hall), Cath Bowtel (ALP) and musical performances from the ever-talented Jade Leonard. He will be launching her anthem, Equal Love. As well as a wedding between Art Simone and Jade Leonard! Yes! Protesting for Equal Rights, and we will marry a Drag Queen and Lesbian Jazz Musician! As well as anyone else who would like to come along!

According to Ali, the group wedding has been occurring since John Howard changed the marriage act in 2004 to redefine marriage, not to recognize the union of a man and another man or woman and her wife. A very passionate Ali said that the wedding is a chance for couples to express their love for one another without fear of persecution and discrimination in front of their friends, family, and community.

Why rally?

To galvanize the support of our community, and the general public and to put pressure on the Politicians so close to the election. And it’s working! Since 2004 support for Equal Marriage has grown from 2% to 68% today. Not only that, but the rallies help give people a voice. They empower people, particularly young people who cannot vote; it makes us feel like we’re a part of something bigger.

But to us, Ali, and the general Queer community, Equal Rights are so much more than a marriage certificate. It’s about giving the LGBTIQ community the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts. It’s about not having to fit into Societies’ gender norms. Being equal in the eyes of the law means so much more than being married. Currently, the marriage act reaffirms to the broader public that the discrimination that we experience on a daily basis is ok, it is part of our legal system, it is law. Changing the marriage act would be the first step in making sure that the public knows that intolerance is just not acceptable!

Relying on the donations of many generous sponsors, Ali informed me that  Equal Love is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is simply to achieve equality for all LGBTIQ people. All the people you see working with and for Equal Love are volunteers, giving up their time to support our community and help achieve a goal we all want. So when you see those buckets being passed around on Saturday, please donate. Without our support, there would be no forum in which we can voice our opinion.

My favorite question: What is the best part of being a lesbian? Ali’s answer… The community, thousands of people together, welcoming, passionate and instantly accepting.

The strong community is prepared to stand up for our rights and equality.

And I have to say that I agree!

So get your ass to the Victorian State Library this Saturday the 17th of August and show your love and support for our community! (Here’s hoping for the last time!)