YES campaign casts its rainbow over Byron Bay

Ballina MP Tamara Smith addresses Byron Bay's YES rally for marriage equality on Sunday (October 8). Photo Jeff Poole

Ballina MP Tamara Smith addresses Byron Bay’s YES rally for marriage equality on Sunday (October 8). Photo Jeff Poole

With still a month to go before the results of the nation’s longest ever survey are tabulated, supporters of the marriage equality YES campaign took to Byron Bay’s Apex Park on Sunday to relax, reflect and re-energise.

The seven-coloured ‘rainbow region’ flag flew proudly beside the six-coloured LGBTI flag showing support from all sections of our community.

Entertainment from Mae Wilde and the Bollywood Sisters belly dancers got the crowd in the mood, while speeches came from Byron Mayor Simon Richardson, MLC Mehreen Faruqi, marriage celebrant Zenith Virago, a young gay man who grew up in Byron, and Ballina MP Tamara Smith.

But perhaps the line of the day went to MC Mandy Nolan who said, ‘this is not so much a survey on same sex-marriage as a dickhead poll. Now we’ll know where they live.’

She added that ‘even if you don’t believe in marriage, you should still vote YES – because this is not just about what YOU want: it’s a civil rights issue.’

Mayor Richardson acknowledged gay people had ‘more reason than most to respond in anger to the hateful and hurtful barbs being thrown at you,’ but pleaded, ‘this is a campaign about love – please don’t get drawn by the NO side’s hate campaign.’

Local marriage celebrant Zenith Virago said that despite having been marrying people for 25 years (including Mandy Nolan, twice) she ironically was still not able to marry.

MLC Mehreen Faruqi said that her support for the YES vote was not at odds with her Muslim upbringing, ‘which taught me that love and respect for others were so important’.

She added that like many immigrants growing up in Australia, ‘we demand respect for our cultures and it is only fair that we return that respect.’

A lone NO supporter, who identified herself as ‘Way Mild’ was allowed to address the group, but was only midway through a speech about how dinosaur bones were ‘planted in the earth to fool children into believing in evolution’ when she was played off by a man with a big sax.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsors Vast Furniture & Homewares Ballina and Falls Festival Byron Bay.