Australian city pledges to fly rainbow flag until same-sex marriage is legal
An Australian city has pledged to fly a rainbow flag until same-sex marriage is legal in the country.
Darebin, in the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria, raised the flag over its city hall yesterday after councillors voted for the measure on Monday.
The ceremony and flag-raising in the city of 150,000 marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
And the city’s Mayor Kim Le Cerf said the symbol of LGBT pride and equality would remain until same-sex marriage was made law in the federal parliament.
The prohibition on same-sex couples marrying in Australia has remained in place despite polls having long shown that most of the public want to make it legal.
Le Cerf, who is also a councillor for the Greens, said: “People who identify themselves as LGBTIQ make up more than 10 per cent of our community”.
She added that these citizens were “twice as likely to experience poor mental health outcomes as a direct result of the stigma, prejudice and discrimination they experience every day.
“Marriage equality is a big part of ending entrenched discrimination and I am proud that Darebin Council will fly the rainbow flag until the Marriage Act is changed so that Australians are able to marry, regardless of who they are or who they love,” Le Cerf said.
The council also voted to supply 20,000 Australian dollars’ worth of community grants to make LGBT people safer in the city.
Councillor Steph Amir told the Herald Sun that the new grants would “show more than symbolism”.
“We need to recognise and make visible our support for our diverse community,” she added.
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Earlier this month, the Australian government once again allocated money – in this case $170 million – towards holding a nationwide plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
After his narrow victory in July’s election, right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged to bring a public plebiscite as soon as possible.
But a national vote is not necessary to make same-sex marriage legal in the country, and efforts to bring one about have so far been rejected.
A clear majority of MPs and Senators are in favour of same-sex marriage, with the balance shifting decisively in last year’s federal election.
Despite this, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly blocked a parliamentary vote on the issue, and has instead focused on attempting to conduct a costly, non-binding public vote.
Opposition parties have stopped any proposed plebiscite, reasoning that since the majority of the public and parliament wants same-sex marriage, it should be decided in parliament.