This Wednesday thousands of eagerly awaiting LGBTI people and their allies are expected to take the day off work and school to come together to witness the result of the postal survey on same-sex marriage.


Equal Love will be hosting a mass gathering outside the State Library of Victoria to witness a live broadcast of the results. There will be people of all ages standing alongside one another in what most are expecting to be a historic win.


Addressing the crowd will be Sarah and Jac Tomlins as well as Jason and Adrian Tuazon McCheyne, who sparked the controversial amendment to the marriage act in 2004, by attempting to get their Canadian marriages recognised in Australia. The couples will reflect on the past 13 years in what one can only imagine being an emotional 360 for them all if the yes result wins.


We are expecting a rainbow display of emotion, cake, prominent speakers, and dancing.

In the unlikely outcome of a ‘no’ majority, we will hold a protest march through the streets of Melbourne.

A resounding ‘YES’ outcome on Wednesday will be a such a momentous juncture in the campaign for marriage equality. What a fabulous mandate it gives the government to legislate for our equal rights. Whilst we expect a victory in the most expensive opinion poll to date, unfortunately, the fight isn’t over and the pressure on the government needs to continue after November 15 until we see marriage equality a reality.
— ALI HOGG - Equal Love Convenor


Details: 9am for a 10am announcement at the State Library of Victoria

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Fighting Politics With Dissent: A Mass 'Illegal' Wedding Will Occur In Melbourne This Month

Fighting Politics With Dissent: A Mass 'Illegal' Wedding Will Occur In Melbourne This Month


In August 2004, thirteen years ago, an amendment occurred which mystifies a large proportion of the Australian population: the John Howard government changed the wording of the Marriage Act to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Every year since then, Equal Love has held a defiant yet joyous rally in protest, and this year is no different.

On Saturday 26 August, on the steps of The State Library of Victoria, Equal Love will again protest with an irreverent Mass Illegal Wedding where dozens of same sex couples will be married, with all the bells and whistles including an Equal Love issued marriage certificate. What is so beautiful about this protest is that it combats this needlessly discriminatory amendment by reminding people about what is at the heart of the debate about marriage equality.

It is a fight for the freedom of two people to make a private choice to celebrate their love publicly, proudly and in a legally binding way which is equal to that of heterosexual couples. This rally comes at a time where marriage equality is at the forefront of political debate. But it is not a question of love and civil rights, but rather an unnecessarily complex bureaucratic discussion. Malcolm Turnbull (who has publicly announced that he would personally vote in favour of marriage equality) is being held hostage by the vocal and staunchly conservative right of his party, his desperate attempt to hold on to his position and groups like The Australian Christian Lobby.

A vastly expensive plebiscite was voted down in the Senate last year. The growing demand for a free MP vote even from within the Liberal party itself has been ignored. The Turnbull government has decided that as the motion to restore this plebiscite gets rejected again, as it was this morning, then they may run a voluntary postal vote on the issue.

Luckily, we don’t need to explain to you why this move is disproportionally discriminatory because our very own Malcolm Turnbull has outlined an argument himself, against postal votes in 1997:

A postal ballot of necessity will only reach voters who are living at the address recorded on the electoral roll … This will particularly hurt young people, many of them students, who move more often than older people settled in families. It will also disfranchise Aborigines from remote communities who are often highly mobile.

So not only will this vote not be an effective measure of whether the general population is in support of gay marriage, but it is likely to go to a free vote in parliament if the answer is “yes” anyway, as one last attempt for it to be voted down.

To counteract the cool procedural detachment of the politics surrounding this issue and bring the focus back to the real life effects that same sex marriage could have on actual people, there is no better time for an explosion of colour, love and theatrics – which will be Equal Love’s Mass Illegal Wedding.

To attend the event, click here.

With a voluntary postal plebiscite quite likely, there has been no better time to register to vote or update your postal details in order to have your voice heard.

Melbourne Is Holding a Mass Gay Wedding to Rally for Marriage Equality

Melbourne Is Holding a Mass Gay Wedding to Rally for Marriage Equality

Thousands are expected to illegally tie the knot.

Last week, Germany's parliament voted in favour of marriage equality. Soon it will join Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay in legalising same-sex marriage.

Missing from this list, obviously, is Australia.

While the rest of the world has moved towards marriage equality, Australia has fallen behind—bogged down in debates over plebiscites, parliamentary votes, and six words that have proven tricky to shake free from: "between a man and a woman."

This year marks 13 years since then-Prime Minister John Howard amended Australia's Marriage Act to restrict the right of marriage to hetero couples "to the exclusion of all others." Every year since then, thousands have gathered for Equal Love rallies around the country, and 2017 will be no exception.

Equal Love rally

Equal Love rally


On August 26, Equal Love is expecting its biggest ever turnout. Included in the rally will also be a mass illegal wedding ceremony, held in front of Melbourne's State Library of Victoria. Priests, celebrants, and ministers will come down on the day to officiate these unions, and Equal Love will issue marriage certificates.

"This year, we are expecting even a bigger turn out as our federal politicians drag their feet more and more," says Anthony Wallace, a campaigner for Equal Love. "To put it plainly, Australia is without marriage equality today because Turnbull wants to keep his right wing cronies happy and his backside planted in that PM seat."

A bit of history on how Australia came to deny same-sex couples the right to marry highlights how politicised marriage equality has always been in this country. "Back in 2004, two couples—two women, and the other two men—planned on challenging the federal government in allowing and recognising their marriages that had taken place in Canada," Anthony explains.

Then-Prime Minister John Howard was advised the couples were likely to win the case, which would extent all couples the right to marry in Australia. At the very last minute though, Howard's Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock introduced a bill amending the Marriage Act, and legally restricting marriage to include only "a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others."


Couple getting married at an Equal Love rally in Melbourne.

Couple getting married at an Equal Love rally in Melbourne.


"In just under two hours the law was formalised squashing any chance of the two couples winning their challenge against the government," Anthony says. "This was the day prior to the case being heard and the two couples decided to drop their case... Since then, for the past 13 years, there has been growing support and demand to remove that added discriminatory amendment and extend marriage to any two adults regardless of gender."

In 2004, John Howard told reporters his government decided to push through the changes to "make it very plain that that is our view of a marriage, and to also make it very plain that the definition of a marriage is something that should rest in the hands ultimately of the parliament of the nation." In 2017, the Turnbull Government refuses to have a free vote in parliament, and insists the only way Australia will see marriage equality is if there's a national plebiscite vote on the issue.

But Anthony says that while politics has lagged behind public opinion on marriage equality, this year marks a watershed moment. "For the first time there is overwhelming support in the lower house and upper house and both leaders of the Government and Opposition support marriage equality," he explains. "It would be passed into law as quickly as it was banned, in hours!"

The 2017 Equal Love rally and mass illegal wedding will take place on 26 August, 2017.

Article first published on VICE


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Melbourne to hold mass same-sex wedding

Melbourne to hold mass same-sex wedding


Melbourne LGBTI activists are planning a mass same-sex wedding next month to protest Australia’s ban on marriage equality.

Equal Love Melbourne has invited same-sex couples to get married at the public ceremony, which will be held at the State Library of Victoria on August 26following a marriage equality march through the city.

It will mark 13 years since the Australian government amended the Marriage Act to specifically ban same-sex couples from marriage.

The group said Australia is one of the last Western countries to legislate for marriage equality and called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to stand up to the right-wing of his party on “this important issue of civil rights”.

“Couples who would like to make a public declaration of their commitment are welcome to take part in the mass illegal wedding, to be held at the conclusion of the march,” the group said.

“Equal Love will be issuing marriage certificates to all couples who decide to mark this occasion by becoming illegally wed.”

Last weekend, a gay couple of 30 years got unofficially married outside Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena to protest the Australian tennis player anti-gay comments.

“We believe that giving Margaret Court a platform for her hate speech is not acceptable given her status, so we’re sending her a message of love,” Van Houwelingen said.

Article first published in QNews

Melbourne to stage mass 'illegal wedding' to champion same-sex marriage

Melbourne to stage mass 'illegal wedding' to champion same-sex marriage

Photo by Andy McMaster

Photo by Andy McMaster

The rally is in protest of Australia's laws restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman.


A RALLY in Melbourne for marriage equality is set to conclude with a mass “illegal wedding” of demonstrators.

The rally, to be held on August 26, is in protest of Australia’s laws restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman.

Organised by Equal Love Melbourne, the rally is expected to draw thousands of people, with the mass “wedding” to happen at its conclusion.

“Australia is one of the few remaining Western countries in which LGBTI [people] are prohibited from marrying,” said the organisers.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refuses to risk his leadership by standing up to the right wing of his party on this important issue of civil rights, despite the majority of both houses of parliament supporting reform.

“Join thousands of other equality supporters this August as we send a message that this is simply not good enough and that we want marriage equality now.”

Equal Love will be issuing marriage certificates to all couples who choose to be “illegally wed” at the rally.

This August marks 13 years since the amendment of the Marriage Act restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples in Australia. Marriage equality activists have rallied every August since to protest.

Article first published in Star Observer

Melbourne is holding a mass wedding to protest for same-sex marriage

Melbourne is holding a mass wedding to protest for same-sex marriage

Supporters of same-sex marriage protest in wedding dresses (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters of same-sex marriage protest in wedding dresses (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)


LGBT activists are staging a mass wedding in Melbourne next month to protest for same-sex marriages.

Equal Love Melbourne has arranged to hold a number of illegal mass weddings between same-sex couples.

The demonstration will take place on August 26 and hopes to draw attention to the restrictions that LGBT couples in Australia currently face.

Organisers explained that the rally will take place 13 years after Australian government amended the Marriage Act to ban same-sex weddings.

They said in the statement: “Australia is one of the few remaining Western countries in which LGBTI [people] are prohibited from marrying.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refuses to risk his leadership by standing up to the right-wing of his party on this important issue of civil rights, despite the majority of both houses of parliament supporting reform.

“Couples who would like to make a public declaration of their commitment are welcome to take part in the mass illegal wedding. Equal Love will be issuing marriage certificates to all couples who decide to mark this occasion by becoming illegally wed.”

The weddings that will be held will not be legally binding but protesters hope that it will help to keep the issue at the forefront of debate.

It comes after a gay couple who have been together for three decades had an unofficial wedding outside of the Margaret Court Arena over the weekend to protest the homophobic tennis player.

Ron Van Houwelingen and Antony McManus staged the technically illegal ceremony over the weekend in a move to fight against the Margaret Court’s recent homophobic and transphobic comments.

Court said that she believed a “militant gay conspiracy” was out to get her.

She also compared LGBT activists to Adolf Hitler, said that transgender children had been influenced by the Devil and claimed that being a survivor of sexual abuse makes you gay.

The couple explained that they found Court’s comments “abhorrent”.

Van Houwelingen said: “We believe that giving [Margaret Court] a platform for her hate speech is not acceptable given her status, so we’re sending her a message of love.

“Antony and I have been together 30 years this September and we believe that we should have the right to have our love sanctioned before the state."

Article first published on Pink News

Margaret Court protest planned for Liberal fundraiser

Margaret Court protest planned for Liberal fundraiser

"It is abhorrent that Court should be invited as a guest speaker at any event, especially a fundraiser for the Liberal Party"


A PROTEST is planned against Margaret Court’s appearance at a Liberal Party fundraiser this week.
Just weeks after Court’s inflammatory comments about the LGBTI community, she has been asked to be a guest speaker at a Liberal Party fundraiser in Melbourne this Thursday evening for the party’s Sandringham branch, and candidate for the seat at next year’s election Brad Rowswell.

Organised by activist group Equal Love, the protest is expected to draw hundreds standing against Court’s comments and inclusion at the event.

“It is abhorrent that Court should be invited as a guest speaker at any event, especially a fundraiser for the Liberal Party’s Sandringham branch and candidate for the seat at the next year’s election, Brad Rowswell,” said organisers.

“It is appalling that following Court’s recent public comments that… Victoria’s opposition leader Matthew Guy or the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have not recommended her withdrawal.

“Equal Love encourage all who are concerned about this hateful bigotry being given yet another opportunity to publicly insult and degrade people of our community [to join] us to protest Court and to send a strong message to the Liberal Coalition Government that endorsing bigotry is disgraceful and not reflective of the views of the majority of Australians and Christians.”

Jess Jones. Star Observer

Marriage Equality Supporters to rally demanding Parliamentary free vote

Marriage Equality Supporters to rally demanding Parliamentary free vote


Thousands of Melbournians are expected to rally this Saturday in support of marriage equality and to demand an end to the Turnbull government's stalling on LGBTI rights.

Equal Love Convenor Ali Hogg said:

“The Turnbull government is trying to bury the issue of marriage equality.
Turnbull is hoping people forget that he has refused to challenge the right wing and Nationals who oppose civil rights for LGBTI people. But we won't forget. We know that marriage equality could be a reality tomorrow if Turnbull allowed a free vote. And that
is exactly what we, along with thousands of others, will be demanding this Saturday.”

Penny Cula-Reid, the first out AFLW player who will be speaking at the rally, said:

"Its very simple... love is love. We are not here to change peoples minds just thier attitudes and acceptance. We all bleed the same blood, breathe the same air, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, sexuality, education we are all equal and we should be treated
as equal..... See simple"

Confirmed speakers include:
PENNY CULA-REID  -Collingwood AFLW player and first out AFLW player,
CHRIS DE PASQUALE - LGBTI Officer, National Union of Students,
SALLY RUGG - Marriage Equality Campaign Director, GetUp!,
KIRSTY WEBACK - Comedian and Joy 94.9 Representative and
ALI HOGG-Equal Love Convenor

Special guest performer:
GREG GOULD performing his hit single ‘Don’t Let Go’.

Details:  1pm, Saturday 20 May, State Library of Victoria



Equal Love Press Release




Equal Love joins other marriage equality activists in strongly opposing the proposal, supported by Peter Dutton and other members of the Liberal government for a postal plebiscite on marriage equality.

Equal Love convenor Ali Hogg:

"This is yet another mechanism dreamed up by the Liberal government to avoid a parliamentary vote. It must be rejected. It is the responsibility of the parliament to resolve this issue, and it is the responsibility of Malcolm Turnbull to allow a free vote so that marriage equality can be finally achieved. LGBTI people have waited long enough. The government's prevarication is an insult to those members of the community who are currently denied their human rights. Our message to Turnbull is: no more messing around, equality now."

Equal Love further rejects the contention by the government that they must adhere to their "promise" to carry out a plebiscite. Hogg again:

"The Liberal Party's policy was to hold a plebiscite. But they did not win decisively enough to be able to deliver on this policy. Those who hold the balance of power in the Senate have a mandate to push for a parliamentary vote, which is the usual way something like this should be resolved and was, after all, how the Howard government originally altered the Marriage Act. So the situation now is that the Liberals are effectively blocking the achievement of marriage equality, which is certainly not something they have a mandate for. It's obvious to everyone what needs to happen to resolve this situation: a parliamentary vote. And it needs to happen now."

Equal Love will hold a rally for marriage equality at 1 pm on Saturday 20 May at the State Library of Victoria. The rally will demand an immediate free vote in parliament for marriage equality. Speakers to be announced. 

What children say about same-sex marriage

What children say about same-sex marriage



In a marriage equality debate where some often argue "think of the children", it's often instructive to ask the children what they actually think.

Corin Nichols Tomlins and his sisters Scout and Cully share pretty firm views. The first is that having two mums is "normal and awesome". The second is that a plebiscite could cause immense harm – or as Corin told a marriage equality rally in Melbourne on Saturday: "it's like giving people money to insult us."Children of same-sex parents talk to a gathered crowd at a marriage equality rally that began at Victoria's State Library. 

"I really don't think a plebiscite is a good idea, because it's an excuse for people to say nasty things about my family," says the 13-year-old history buff. "I want people to actually listen to the children instead of using us as an argument."

It's a view that Corin and his siblings have expressed before – most recently to federal MPs during a Rainbow Families road trip to Canberra last month as the debate on same-sex marriage intensified.

But the question of a plebiscite will come to a head this week when Labor's shadow cabinet formalises its stance on Monday, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten widely expected to confirm the party will not support a public vote.

Whether a compromise can be found remains unclear, although the push for a free vote intensified at the weekend when leading law firms Baker & McKenzie, Marque Lawyers, Maurice Blackburn and Squire Patton Boggs became the first in the country to openly encourage the Turnbull government to dump the plebiscite in favour of legislation to amend the Marriage Act.

Mental health services also warned that the broader debate has already led to an explosion in the number of LGBTI people seeking help for psychological distress.

Drummond Street Services chief executive Karen Field told Saturday's rally that her organisation's Queerspace mental health service had received a two-fold increase across all age groups seeking support.

"Despite Queerspace supporting 428 LGBTIQ people in the previous year, this has blown out to over 700 people in the last 12 months," she said. "How about we spend money for mental health support for this community, not divisive hate platforms?"

As for the kids? They tend to think that federal Parliament should just get on with it. After all, what's the big deal?

"None of my friends care that I have two mums, and sometimes kids actually say having two mums is really cool," Cully Nichols Tomlins, aged 9, told the crowd.

"I think it's unfair that people say 'think of the children, they need a mother and father' but they don't really care about us. We are the same as any other family but they just ignore that."

Her sister Scout, 11, put it like this: "I saw a picture on Instagram that said God wouldn't discriminate, so why do some people who believe in God discriminate against my family?"

Sometimes the young ones make the most sense.

Article first published in The Age.


Becoming a marriage equality activist

Becoming a marriage equality activist


Erin steele

In March 2012 I sat in on a marriage equality forum in Melbourne held by Equal Love, one of the groups leading the campaign for equal rights. I was nervous as hell and didn’t really know much about marriage equality beyond the fact that we didn’t have it.

I joined Equal Love that night and haven’t looked back for one minute. My reasons for joining were numerous, some more noble than others.

Having recently returned from the UK, where I had come out of the closet, had my political interest piqued, and been following the infuriating yet heartbreaking spectacle of two of my closest male friends (one American, one British with dual Australian citizenship) jumping through every available hoop to marry and live in the US.

After 18 exhaustive months of sworn statements, extensive documentation of the relationship and visits to immigration, my friend’s US visa was not granted.

Despite needing to live in the US due to familial responsibilities, they were forced to settle for a civil union in the UK, which would allow them to live and work as a de facto couple. They spent every spare penny they had on travelling to Australia and then the US to visit their respective families. 

Returning home, I couldn’t get on the internet fast enough. “I’m gay!” I thought. “This affects me! And people I know! And it’s bullshit!”

I searched for the term “marriage equality Australia” and clicked on the first website I could find (well, the first that didn’t require a special set of prerequisites to join), “Equal Love”.  I had never heard of the group, or of Ali Hogg (the group’s convener and leader), who I’ve come to know as one of the warmest, fiercest, bravest and hardest working activists I could have hoped to meet. 

Admittedly I joined Equal Love knowing little to nothing about politics, queer culture or whether this would ever really be relevant to my life or interests. Frankly, it was just an issue I felt strongly about, but I also just wanted to meet some other like-minded queers and protest against a system I don’t agree with on the whole. It definitely wasn’t personal.

Two years on, however, I feel a little differently. Six Melbourne rallies, three regional rallies (at one of which I spoke on behalf of EL), dozens of events, fundraisers, meetings, working bees, posters, flyers, social media campaigns and three different T-shirt designs – this has become more than a little personal. 

Be it Liberal or Labor, there has been a revolving door of politicians who have overseen ten years of legislated discrimination, some with vehement opposition and gross bigotry, some with an apologetic shrug at the withholding of our civil rights.

This is my problem. Not because I’m queer. Not because I’m a leftie. Not even because I particularly want to get married. But because I’m a human being and civil rights belong to everyone. It is the principle of the thing.

I now understand and can speak fairly authoritatively on legislated discrimination, the anti-gay lobby, the Marriage Act and how it operates within the Constitution, what is required in parliament to achieve our objective and the larger agenda at work in continuing this legislated bigotry.

This year marks 10 years of action for marriage equality. Yes, I am disgusted. And yes, it is personal. I’ll be at the next rally to keep up this fight. Will you join me?

Article first published in Red Flag.