Sydney’s ethnic communities say no to gay marriage vote

More than 10,000 people from numerous ethnic communities rallied together in Sydney last weekend to demonstrate their ‘no’ vote in Australia’s gay marriage referendum.

The rally combined a fiesta atmosphere with fairground rides, food stalls, music and dancing. There were addresses by Members of Parliament, the Coalition for Marriage, his Excellency Robert Rabbat, Melkite Bishop of Australia, Dr Pansy Lai from Australian Chinese for Families, and Susan Hourani from Radio 2Moro.

Lai would have been known to the crowd as the person who coordinated petitions for several ethnic communities against the Safe Schools programme in New South Wales. (The programme, which was designed to educate students about sexual and gender diversity, was subsequently dumped in favour of a wider anti-bullying programme.)

Lai spoke about the link between the removal of parental rights, a change in the marriage law and the introduction of radical lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) sex and gender programmes into the classrooms.

“We parents have a say in what our kids get taught about life, relationships, sex and marriage. We parents are the ones who must speak up to protect our children because nobody is going to do it for us,” Lai told the crowd.

The Honourable Michael Sukkar MP reiterated Lai’s call to protect the family, commenting on the cultural importance of the link between mother and child.

“I’ve learned you don’t come between a Lebanese mother and her kids,” he said, reminding the crowd that it was not only okay, but their duty, to say ‘no’ in the gay marriage referendum.

Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York called the gathering “energising.’’

“It shows that there is still so much energy and so much resolve in the ‘no’ camp. The people I met today are committed to working tirelessly to ensure that as many ‘no’ votes as possible are posted over the coming weeks.

“Too often in this debate, the diverse voices of Australia’s migrant communities have been ignored. These people are the silent majority, but we heard them loud and clear in Fairfield yesterday. In different dialects, they had the same message: we are voting ‘no’,” York added.

Clergy from numerous Eastern rite Christian faith communities were at the event.

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News category: World.

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