Rainbow chalking at Taylor Square on Saturday / Photo: Jason Marshall

Posted by & filed under City Hub.

The gay rights movement is beginning to broaden its goals and reflect the aims of the marriage equality campaign.

Last Saturday, Polyamory Action Lobby Spokesperson Brigitte McFadden was invited to address the 700-strong rally gathered at Town Hall for a marriage equality rally.

Speaking about her experience in the marriage equality campaign, Ms McFadden said she didn’t feel quite as comfortable as she should.

“I felt alienated and I felt like my relationships were illegitimate, even in a campaign that I thought was fighting for me – a queer woman,” she said.

Ms McFadden was critical of the queer rights movement, questioning why the state should have a say in which relationships are legitimate or not.

“Why is it that if a woman and her two girlfriends want to be married or have any relationship recognition at all, she is told by the state that she can’t, she is told by society that she can’t and she is told by some people at this rally that she can’t?” she said.

“Whenever we run a campaign, whether it’s for marriage equality or women’s rights or for any goal you can think of, we need to be constantly self-reflective and critical.”

Evan Van Zijl, a queer rights activist and rally enthusiast, said we need to have a marriage that is unbound by traditional notions of family and the gender binary.

“I think supporting people who experience struggle is something we should all seek to do and society should be moving past feeling ashamed,” he said.

“The support of polyamory, and any excluded consensual relationship which experiences struggle, is therefore logical and comes purely down to a question of tactics.”

Mr Van Zijl said the most important part of the campaign is the way it can build consciousness for a wide platform of issues which affect queer and LGBTI-identifying individuals.

“When we hold these rallies, we hold them as an expression of pride of politics and identity, and these things need to be brought up so we can challenge a variety of things which include challenging the bans that were placed upon us by [John] Howard and the ALP in 2004,” he said.

“But also include fighting for things like better healthcare for queers, public housing, resisting the pathologisation of trans people and a number of other important civil rights issues.”

Federal Parliament will vote on Greens Marriage Equality Bill on June 6. Marriage Equality bills have been voted down in the past, but a number of ALP defectors to the pro-marriage camp will have the chance to make their position clear. But the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, continues to refuse his MPs a conscience vote.

Greens candidate for Sydney Dianne Hiles said unlike Labor and the Coalition, the Greens don’t need a conscience vote on marriage equality because marriage equality is a policy every Greens MP, Greens member and supporter believes in.

“Marriage equality is now supported by the majority of the population; I support it as I support the elimination of discrimination in all its forms,” said Ms Hiles.