Council supports marriage equality

26 Sept 2017

Newcastle City Council has resolved to support the 'yes' campaign in Australia's current marriage-law plebiscite after reaffirming a commitment to marriage equality made in 2015.

Almost a year after unveiling a rainbow-walk in Islington Park, Council voted in favour of five measures to support the right of same-sex couples to marry.

"I am so proud to lead a progressive council that supports the right of all Australians, regardless of their sexuality, to marry," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

"This is about showing members of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) community that our city stands beside them in supporting their right to marry the person they love.

"Beyond Blue stats show the rate of suicide attempts is up to 14 times higher among LGBTI people. They are also twice as likely to have a high level of psychological distress. We as a community and through the resources of Newcastle City Council can send a message of marriage equality that helps alleviate these stresses."

The Lord Mayoral Minute adopted tonight will see Newcastle City Council:

  • Re-affirm the city's commitment to marriage equality
  • Write to the Federal Government and Federal Opposition, advising them of the City's support for marriage equality
  • Show support for marriage equality by flying the rainbow flag above City Hall
  • Deliver an advocacy and communication strategy that affirms Council's support for marriage equality and the 'yes' campaign on its website, social media accounts and by erecting banners across the city
  • Hosts a community event in support of a 'yes' vote.

Adding the final touches to the Islington Rainbow Walk

Newcastle City Council previously resolved to support marriage equality in a successful Notice of Motion at the ordinary council meeting of 28 July 2015.

The city has long been at the forefront of progressive community advocacy in Australia.

The Council led by Joy Cummings, Australia's first popularly-elected woman Lord Mayor, was the first in Australia to raise the Aboriginal flag above a city or town hall 40 years ago this year.

"The flag flies without challenge or controversy given its now-overwhelming support by Australians," the Lord Mayor added.

"Newcastle City Council expects that marriage equality will ultimately be seen in decades to come as an assumed and just right for all people."

Council joins 52 other councils around Australia, including City of Sydney, Brisbane City, North Sydney Council and City of Melbourne, in supporting marriage equality.

Last year, Newcastle City Council opened a rainbow walk in Islington Park to acknowledge the area's historical association with the LGBTIQ community.