Photo Credit: Alex Conte
My wife of a week and a half and I were part of the 77,300 hyperventilating fans at Etihad Stadium for Sunday night’s final Australian Adele concert/marriage equality rally.
Early in the evening, Adele called an audience member, Chris, onto the stage to meet her. She chose him because he’d burst into tears when she walked to his side of the stage while opening the show with Hello. Chris was appropriately overwhelmed and emotional as security hoisted him onto the stage and into Adele’s arms, and then Adele invited his husband Wade to join them. Wade explained that he had never actually officially proposed to his husband, so he dropped to one knee, pulled out a ring and asked Chris to marry him. The 77,300 people sharing the boy’s joy erupted into cheers, applause, and in our case, tears. Adele said she had no idea that Wade was going to propose on stage. Later in the evening, Adele left the stage for a short break and a ‘kiss cam’ was turned on. The camera guys picked out people in the audience and a number of same-sex couples were chosen. The audience erupted in support as these couples embraced their moment in the limelight and kissed. Sitting in the audience, there was no doubt that Adele had thrown her powerful voice behind the fight for marriage equality.
Australian CEOs are also making their voices heard and are receiving an extraordinary attack from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton for doing so. The CEOs of 30 of Australia’s largest companies signing a letter urging the government to take action on marriage equality, as part of the equality campaign. Dutton responded by saying that the CEOs should “get back to their knitting" and that the government “would not be bullied” into changing it’s position on the plebiscite. He also stated that “The reality is that some companies are morally coerced into supporting campaigns in fear of being extorted by an online social media push to boycott their product.” Qantas reacted with a statement saying that “Qantas speaks out on a number of social issues from indigenous recognition to gender diversity and marriage equality. We do so because we believe these issues are about the fundamental Australian value of fairness and we’re the national carrier.” Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus told ABC radio that “I find it a bitter irony that we've got a Liberal Party that wants to give free speech for racists but not free speech for CEOs. CEOs of publicly listed corporations have a perfect right to speak out on absolutely anything in Australian society." Today Australians For Equality released new Reachtel polling from 12 Coalition-held seats which shows that almost 40% of voters in Coalition-held seats will abandon the government at the next election if they continue to block a vote on marriage equality. "Every one of the Coalition seats surveyed backed Marriage Equality with an average of 61% of the electorates in support of marriage equality and with some as high as 77%," said Tiernan Brady, Executive Director of the Equality Campaign. The Poll also reveals that 66% of voters in Coalition seats believe it’s important the government resolves marriage equality by a vote in the parliament this year. Australian Marriage Equality co-chair Alex Greenwich said the poll represented "the strongest support for marriage equality we have ever seen in Coalition-held seats". “The clear message is that Australians overwhelmingly back marriage equality, and voters in Liberal and Nationals Party seats want the Government to get on with the job of making equality a reality for every Australian,” said Anna Brown, co-chair of Australians for Equality. This is a critical time in the fight for marriage equality in this country as supportive coalition MP's are rumoured to be about to pressure the Prime Minister for a free vote and opponents are trying to stop it. The Equality Campaign needs your help so click here to add your voice to the campaign.