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Battle lines drawn over marriage equality

Amanda Whitley

The battle lines over marriage equality have been drawn in the lead up to the presentation of a private members bill to legalise same sex marriage to Federal Parliament this week. Canberra Airport’s move to light up their terminal in rainbow colours in support of the #WeCanDoThis campaign has coincided with local florists being flooded with a barrage of orders bearing messages opposing the stance, destined for the lawns of Parliament House.

Canberra Airport’s terminal will be wearing its rainbow colours, along with signage supporting the #WeCanDoThis campaign, for the next week to say ‘yes’ to marriage equality.

“We are attempting to highlight the deep, positive and strong feelings of the vast majority of the community in support of equality,” Airport Managing Director Stephen Byron said.

The Snow family stands up for marriage equality. Source: Facebook.

The Snow family stands up for marriage equality. Source: Facebook.

“Equality of same sex relationships is an issue that is very important for Canberra Airport – not only because we believe that equality is an essential right for our whole community but also because it has a particular personal significance for our family.

“My brother, Tom Snow, and his husband were married last year in New Zealand with their children and our extended family as witnesses. It struck me at this time how ridiculous it is that my relationship, and my wife and children, are afforded the protection and support of our government, yet Tom and his family are forced to travel overseas to get married.

“We hope that the rainbow image across the gateway to Australia’s National Capital will have similar impact to lighting up the White House after the historic US Supreme Court ruling determining marriage equality in the US in June this year.”

The move coincides with Christian ministries across the nation instigating a campaign to “Protect the Future by acting now!” Christians have been encouraged to say “Thank you with Flowers” to Prime Minister Abbott and those Parliamentarians who are, according to the Australian Prayer Network, “valiantly defending the existing Biblical Covenant of Marriage between a man and a woman.”

Tomorrow, Christians will place a carpet of flowers at Parliament House “as a united expression of prayer and thanks to our Prime Minister and those supporting traditional marriage in Parliament.”

Messages received by local florists express that the senders are “grateful we have a PM and cabinet willing to stand for the “traditional” values of marriage and the rights of children to a Mum and Dad.” and call heterosexual marriage “the fabric of a stable society”.

Some of the messages received by local florists for delivery to the lawns of Parliament House tomorrow.

Some of the messages received by local florists for delivery to the lawns of Parliament House tomorrow. Source: Supplied.

While the lawns of Parliament House are readied for  the floral stand which Australian Prayer Network says is necessary, lest “Satan…make it illegal in Australia to…say anything against the demonic in the nation”, Tom Snow switched on the lights with a message of equality.

“We are here tonight to say now is the time for change. Now is the time to give gay and lesbian Australians a fair go and recognise them as equals, as they are recognised in 21 other countries. Now is the time to show leadership for equality.

“No-one should underestimate how much the legal right to marry matters to my husband, me, and our three children. It matters to hundreds of thousands of gay Australians because it says: Your relationship is equal. You are equal. It matters to gay and lesbian young people who for too many years have grown up with the stigma and discrimination that homosexuality is somehow wrong.

“It is because it matters so much that we are here tonight lighting up this magnificent building in rainbow colours, and saying to our elected representatives: this issue should be above politics. ”

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her ‘spare time’, she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She’s done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women.

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