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by Rex Wockner
A National Day of Action for Same-Sex Marriage saw demonstrations Aug. 1 in the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Lismore.
According to the group Equal Love, 5,000 people marched in Melbourne in “the largest single show of support for marriage equality ever in Australia.”
The rallies had no apparent effect on the national convention of the ruling Australian Labor Party, which voted the same day to support a national registry for same-sex partnerships but to oppose legalization of same-sex marriage.
“Although the decision of the ALP delegates was disappointing, I think politicians from all sides now understand that this is not an issue that’s going to go away,” said Equal Love co-convener Tim Wright. “Today’s rallies put it clearly on the national agenda. Marriage equality is rapidly spreading throughout the world and we’re going to be back here year after year until we get it in Australia.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told local radio July 29 that marriage is “between a man and a woman.”
At the same time, the Rudd government has altered around 100 laws to give same-sex de facto couples the rights and obligations of marriage in areas that include health care, taxation, pensions, parenting, public benefits, workplace benefits, workers’ compensation, veterans’ affairs, elder care and educational assistance.
Rudd said July 29 that his goal is to remove “all legal discriminations” against gay couples.
Polling has found that 60 percent of Australians think gay couples should be allowed to get married.