Saturday, April 29, 2006

Going to the chapel but they can't get ma-a-a-rried

The state we live in is about to pass a law allowing civil unions with the same rights as marriage for both straight and gay couples. Unfortunately, the federal government has announced that if the law is passed, they will step in and overturn it -- an action that they have only taken once before, with a voluntary euthanasia law passed in the Northern Territory.

So today we went on a march in support of gay marriage and protesting against this proposed interference in state government.

There seemed to be a surprisingly large turnout, considering the conservative demographics and general apathy of most of this city's population, but I heard later that the protest organisers had bussed in a lot of people from Sydney.

I think some people were a little confused about the point of the march, too, as everywhere we turned we got pamphleted with flyers exhorting us to free Palestine, to protest against Voluntary Student Unions, and to support persecuted Falun Gong practitioners.

The brightly-coloured coat guy didn't seem entirely clear on why he was there, either, as he spent the whole time chanting his own little slogan:

"We're here! We're queer! We're not at Ikea!
We're here! We're queer! We're not going shopping!"

And I have a recommendation for anyone whose life's ambition is to be a loudspeaker person at a protest. Don't do this:

Loudspeaker person: "Tasmania passed civil unions and did the sky fall in?"
Crowd, tentatively: "No..."
Loudspeaker person: "Have family values in Tasmania collapsed?"
Crowd, more confidently: "No!"
Loudspeaker person: "Has it made Tasmania the laughing stock of the rest of the world?"
Crowd, shouting: "No!!!"
Loudspeaker person: "Has it made Tasmania a freer, fairer, friendlier place to live?"
Crowd, really getting the hang of it: "No!!! Oh, wait... um... yes?"