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Gay bay: Council votes to support gay marriage in Byron

BYRON Shire officially joined the fight for marriage equality when a mayoral proposal to introduce a series of symbolic gestures supporting same-sex marriage was passed by councillors today.

Among the moves approved by six of the nine councillors are a "marriage certificate" for same sex couples and a "love park" where they could plant a tree gifted to them by council on their wedding day.

Speaking against the move, Cr Alan Hunter suggested placing the proposal on public exhibition for 30 days to research its impact on the Shire, and Cr Rose Wanchap unsuccessfully sought the love park idea to be dropped.

Chris Cubis also voted against the move.

Diane Woods supported the proposal, although she expressed anger at being placed in a position to have to vote on an issue she said was more of a Federal or State responsibility.

"I feel abused an uncomfortable about being put in this position. It is emotional blackmail," she said.

There were same sex couples within her own family for whom "legal rights not symbolic gestures were more important", Cr Woods said.

Mayor Simon Richardson declared in February that he wanted the Shire to "lead the charge" for marriage equality in Australia, saying he hoped Byron's stand would prompt similar action from councils across the country and put pressure on the Federal Government to reverse its opposition to gay marriage.

He proposed a marriage registry in Byron for gay couples and the love park and called for more ideas, "both symbolic and substantial to add weight to the position".

 

Topics:  byron shire council, gay marriage, simon richardson


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