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.