Posted by & filed under News Brief.

Mardi Gras petitions for marriage equality

Mardi Gras has delivered a petition with over 11,000 signatures to the Australian Senate, in support of same-sex marriage.

By partnering with social media experts Pixolut to develop the EQUAL LOVE online petition, community advocates were encouraged to take part in bid to cease discrimination.

Mr Michael Rolik, CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras said they are proud to play a role in the national push for marriage equality.

Mr Rolik said: “Mardi Gras has always been about enabling visibility of issues that are important to the communities we represent.

“Marriage equality was a stand-out issue throughout Sydney Mardi Gras 2012.

“This petition is yet more evidence of the voices of many into a clear message to end this discrimination of LGBQTI people, which our legislators can’t ignore.”

Mr Rolik said there has been enormous widespread community momentum in 2012.

Enquiries in the Senate received 45,000 separate submissions from individuals and organisations, making it the biggest parliamentary inquiry in Australian history.

The House of Representatives is open for responses until 20 April.

Ms Sharon Green, community supporter said: “One day people will be equal, until that day we will not stop fighting for equality.”

Mr Brian Kelly said: “Knock us down and we will just get back up. We are not running away from this fight. They will not put us back in our cage.”

Another Sydney rally in support of the cause will congregate at Town Hall on the 12 May.

For more information on supporting same-sex marriage visit: www.australianmarriageequality.com

By Lynn Chinnock

Just for kicks

Darling Harbour has been overrun by men in shorts and cleats since last Thursday. About 900 soccer players have descended on a floating soccer pitch at Cockle Bay to play in The Big Issue’s Street Football Festival. The 11-day tournament, which launched on April 12, debuted last year. This year’s event includes about 300 matches, all 15 minutes in length.

A spokesperson for The Big Issue said the event was to raise awareness for the organisation’s Community Street Soccer Program which helps to engage those in marginalised groups across the country. Soccer action culminates this weekend (April 21-22) at the National Street Soccer Championship.

Over 60 of the best players representing NSW, ACT, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland will compete on the small pitch to wrangle for the top spot.

The mixed-ages event had about 500 junior players. There are also corporate and government agency teams taking part including NSW Police and Fire & Rescue NSW.  Passersby are encouraged to watch the event for free.