Friday, 31 July 2015 00:06
The Equal Love rally outside the Australian Labor Party (ALP) conference. Photo: Chris Hopkins
It might have been a cold and windy Saturday afternoon, but love brought the protesters out.
Love and anger.
As party faithfuls gathered inside at the ALP's three-day national conference, about 100 people rallied outside, calling on Labor to get their "shit together" on marriage equality.
Grandmothers against detention of refugee children sing songs as they rally outside the ALP National Conference. Photo: Andrew Meares
Antony McManus and Ron Van Houwelingen said they had been waiting 27 years to tie the knot. Mr McManus made an impassioned and tearful plea to allow the LGBTI community to "celebrate their love".
"There is nothing more that I would like now, officially and legally, to get married in front of my family and my friends," he said.
"Since we started this fight, one of my sisters died ...my brother died, my father died. Last year on our anniversary, my mother passed away.
"It's never going to happen. That's been taken from me, it's been taken from a lot of couples. It's wrong, it's cruel."
Mr McManus said he couldn't believe they were still agitating for the right to marry.
"For God's sake, get your shit together. There are more important things to be fighting for," he said.
Equal Love Melbourne secretary Louise O'Shea said they were calling on the Labor Party to adopt a binding vote.
"At this stage there is no guarantee that an amendment to the marriage act will be successful," Ms O'Shea said.
"If [federal Labor leader Bill] Shorten wants to posture like he is better than [Prime Minister Tony] Abbott on this issue, he has to show he is serious about it and insist on a binding, not a conscience vote."
With more than 2000 participants at the 47th Labor conference, the front of the Melbourne Convention Centre was prime space for rallying.
Earlier, Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children occupied the spot, protesting against the treatment of asylum seekers.
Spokeswoman Pamela Jones said it was disheartening to see Labor seek to harden its policy.
"But what has been heartening is to see, on this cold day, so many of our members rallying," Ms Jones said. "Because we are deeply concerned at this bipartisan cruelty."
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/alp-national-conference-2015-love-brings-out-the-crowds-for-marriage-equality-20150725-gikdpg.html#ixzz3hQHfuv2N