Norm Stanley performs the smoking ceremony and welcome to country, watched by Martin Foley MP Minister for Equality, and supporters of the Equal Love rally.

EQUAL Love Ballarat held a peaceful rally on Saturday to celebrate all things Equality and also sending a message to politicians that their community only wants acknowledgment of their right to be equal and accepted. After a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, supporters moved into the Trade’s Hall where they listened to a number of speakers. Victorian Equality Minister Martin Foley said it appropriate for the rally to be taking place in Ballarat where the idea of an Australian ‘fair go’ was invented. “In 2017 there are still many Australian’s who are denied that fair go, denied the ability to choose freely who their life partner is and to have that recognised like every other Australian,” he said.

“That’s why in Ballarat the Pride Hub is a fantastic imitative and to come together on the issue of marriage equality is one that the Victorian Government really supports. “I hope that Malcolm Turnbull and Canberra hear the message from Ballarat that this issue of equality and a fair go for all Australians, regardless of their gender, their sexuality or their identity, could be fixed tomorrow is he allowed a conscience vote on marriage equality.” Activist Sally Rugg, GetUp!, marriage equality director, said it was important to keep campaigning and to be active at grassroots level. She has supporters joining her in her cry of, “march to fight, march for each other, march because love alone cannot win’ before the rally took to the streets from Trades Hall up Sturt Street to Lydiard Street and back down Mair Street to Trades Hall.