I have been the rally coordinator and campaign manager for Equal Love for 7 years and I am upset that our action last night saw the 1st arrest and the deployment of capsicum spray.
Equal Love have been campaigning for Marriage Equality since the amendment to the Marriage Act under the Howard Government which set out to specifically deny the right of same sexed couples to protect their relationship and assets through the legal entity of marriage.
Our rallies have grown dramatically in numbers and support and we now have come to expect many families and young people to be in attendance and always announce our actions as being a safe space for such people.
Our motivation to facilitate last night’s protest was to oppose the agenda of the ACL. The ACL have placed themselves as the biggest and most vocal opponents of Marriage Equality in Australia. We recognise that they are only a small group but they are heavily funded with 14 staff on the payroll nationally and strong ties to the political right.
It has also been investigated that of all the issues that the ACL should be addressing, they have issued more than 120 press releases in a 6 month period opposing LGBTIQ rights and freedoms. In stark contrast the next highest number of press releases issued from the ACL in the same period, with a little over 20 was on human trafficking.
It is clear without a shadow of a doubt that the ACL exist purely to oppose equality for LGBTIQ people. They along with the Government of the day are our suppressors and therefore we will do all we can to call out their bigotry and do what we can to shut down their hate speech.
Last night we gathered at Scots Church on Collins st for a peaceful but very vocal demonstration against the ACL’s agenda and against their decision to fly in the polarising American Christian who has equated Gay Rights as the new Nazi movement, Eric Metaxas.
Eric Metaxas has written books opposing Marriage Equality and is campaigning in the US to reverse the supreme court decision. He is also fuelling debate in the States regarding Trans people and pushing for them to not be permitted to use amenities of the gender they identify.
We formed a path along the pavement and commenced chants and heard from speakers. Numbers began to grow and it was clear that a small fringe group was forming. They stood out as never in my history have I seen people at our rallies cover their faces in what appeared to be their preparations of things getting violent.
Equal Love are opposed to people being pushed to the ground, spat on or denied their right of passage. Though we would always hope that people would hear and see the damage their organisation does and decide to turn around and not support such an event.
This isolated group formed a human chain which then prevented the bigots from entering their event at which point police then started to push and disperse some of our contingent. Things calmed for a while before someone, believed to be a Rise Up member arrived, which caused the masked bandits to charge at him and a scuffle erupted on the street where police deployed capsicum spray and two men were then arrested and handcuffed.
A scuffle broke out