Sunday, August 12, 2012

Marriage Equality Rally

This weekend  I attended my first ever marriage equality rally.   The rally was held on the 8th anniversary of the Australian Federal Government, (with lots of happy backing from the opposition party) adding a definition of Marriage within the Marriage Act 1961 (Australia) which reads  “Marriage, means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life."

The definition was added to the Marriage Act to safeguard against Australia adopting same sex marriage because it was being debated in other western countries.  Back in 2004, same sex marriage wasn't high on the public conscience and wasn't really thought of as a civil or human right as only a very small minority of Australian citizens were identified as GBLTI.

I've stated several times that I would love to see the definition changed to read "Marriage, means the union of two consenting adults, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life"  

I wanted to walk my talk and was a bit nervous as I knew no one at the rally.  About 300 were in attendance which was great as the weather was atrocious. (It was cold, wet and the wind was blowing a gale)  We are also in a regional city whereas the major cities had thousands in attendance.

I stood at the back of the room while were were inside and held my little sign. I was bit nervous and asked one of the fellows is that was the place for sign holders as I was feeling self conscious sitting in the row with my little poster.

 He warmly welcomed me and said "Jesus would be proud of me"  I replied, "If this rally was held in Jerusalem in Jesus' time, he would be there".  No one said a negative word about any other person at the rally.  It as a really uplifting and encouraging meeting and I was glad to be part of it.

After lots of speeches we went outside for the group march.  We marched up the main road to the sounds of cheers and car horns beeping in support.  On the walk we chanted "Gay, Straight, Left, Right, Marriage is a civil right", "Two Four Six Eight, don't assume your kids are straight","Hey Ho, Hey Ho, Homophobia's got to go!"  and of course "What do we want?  Marriage Equality!  When do we want it? Now!"  We stopped in front of Customs House, a local landmark, for more rallying cheers and photographs.   People happily chatted and caught up with their friends after the official part of the rally was over.  Everyone was smiling and the camaraderie was palpable.

I had so many positive comments about my sign and I felt warmly welcomed by all at the rally.  I wondered if the shoe was on the other foot...if an openly gay person came to my church would they be as welcomed?  Maybe but then would they be accepted for themselves or expected to conform?.  No one tried to tell me my faith was wrong but would an openly gay person in church get the same respect?  A good question.

I posted the photos of the rally to Facebook and My gay friends made a fuss about me being there but very few Christians commented or even clicked 'like' on any of the photographs.   I can understand that some may be afraid what their friends would think if they 'liked' my pictures but for the mature Christians I can't accept that reason.  I am guessing their stony silence speaks volumes for them.

I am really glad I went to the rally.  I made my stand and my presence there may have softened some hearts.  I have sent messages on the Rally's Facebook Page thanking everyone for welcoming me and I also thanked the organisers.  Amongst all the photos was a picture of me with my sign with a positive comment posted underneath and lots of 'likes'.

Jesus said that we should treat others as we would like them to treat us.  If positions were reversed and my marriage was made invalid because I am a Christian, then I would hope that others would stand up for me.  

I am humbled and honoured to have been a part of God's plan to show love to all people.   I read a quote the other day "I'd rather go over the line and be too radical in showing God's grace and love to others than not radical enough." by Jon Klinepeter.

That quote sums it up.

God sees our hearts but others see our actions. When our actions line up with our hearts, the world will see who we really are. When our actions and our hearts line up with Gods heart, then the world will see God. May all of us have hearts that line up so closely with Gods heart, so much so, that the world may see Him, and in seeing Him, know their true worth in his sight.

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