Christopher Knaus, Stephen Johnson August 12, 2012
A SCUFFLE between participants of a same-sex marriage rally and a cafe owner in Civic marred a renewed nationwide push for marriage equality yesterday.
Roughly 100 supporters of gay marriage turned out to City Walk, as part of a series of co-ordinated rallies across Australia.
Events were held in seven cities, and the premiers of South Australia and Tasmania both told supporters they would legislate for same-sex marriage regardless of what happens federally. Improvements to the ACT's civil union laws are also expected to pass the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
But yesterday's rally in Canberra turned ugly after an altercation sparked by the playing of loud music by a nearby cafe, which reportedly made it hard for the speakers to be heard.
At the end of the rally, one member went to speak with staff. It was unclear what was said, but a scuffle occurred and police were called. They received allegations of an assault and are now investigating the incident.
The ACT's civil union laws will be improved when a bill is introduced to the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. The bill, which is similar to the laws overturned by the federal government in 2006, will restore the role of ceremonies and celebrants, and give equal rights under the Marriage Act.
With two marriage equality bills before federal parliament, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill told a rally in Adelaide he would legislate for gay marriage at a state level.
''People should be entitled to express their own identity in any way they wish and the law shouldn't become a barrier to prevent them from doing that,'' he said.
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings addressed a rally in Hobart after announcing last week that her state would legislate its own marriage laws and be prepared for a High Court challenge. with AAP