A massive truck covered with a controversial anti-same-sex marriage billboard appeared in Lismore overnight on Saturday.
The driver, Peter Madden, got more reaction than bargained for when he parked it in Cathcart Street overnight.
Madden, who is part of a group called Heal Our Land Ministries Inc, was heading up to Queensland to participate in the state election campaign, opposing Labor’s same-sex relationship legislation. Text and images on the truck insinuated that approval of same-sex relationships would lead to paedophilia.
Madden parked the truck near a motel where he planned to spend the night but he reckoned without Lismore’s large and vocal gay community.
The propaganda drew the attention and ire of at least 60 gay activists and local residents, who held an overnight vigil by the truck and painted it with ‘love graffiti’ to counteract what they described as messages of hate.
Two people attached themselves to the vehicle. One of them, ‘Fairy Princess Amber’, donned a wedding dress before chaining herself to the truck.
Shouting ‘take the banners down’, the activists implored police to remove them. But it was the activists themselves who were finally removed, with Amber having to be treated by paramedics for raised blood pressure over the incident.
Madden was eventually taken to the police station to wait it out before he continued on to a prayer group meeting in the town. Police also drove and escorted the truck to another undisclosed location.
Police, ambulance and rescue squad showed great respect for all those present.
Extracted from Melissa Hargraves’s detailed personal account of the incident, which will be published in Echonetdaily on Wednesday.