March rallies for equality

LESBIAN mum Valerie Thompson wants her baby daughter to grow up in a world where same-sex couples are treated with equality. Ms Thompson was one of about 80 locals who on Saturday gathered at Lismore's Spinks Park to participate in a rally for sexual and gender minority equality. The rally commemorated the third anniversary of a ban on same-sex marriages in Australia. Ms Thompson, who has a one-year-old daughter called Hope, said same-sex couples should have a right to have a child and have both parents recognised by law. "It's a weight on your shoulders when you know only the biological mother is legally recognised as a parent," she said. "It makes it hard thinking about what could happen to your child if something happened to the biological mum. "It's an abuse of human rights that there is the potential to have your child taken off you." Baden Offord, co-director at the Centre for Peace and Social Justice at Southern Cross University, made a speech at the rally. "In Australia homosexual couples face entrenched discrimination through dozens of pieces of Federal and State legislation," he said. "These laws of denial simply add to the entrenched discrimination that occurs on a daily basis in social, cultural and religious ways." Ben Cooper, founder of Lismore Activists for Same Sex Equality (LASSE) said the strong turn-out at the rally demonstrated the growing community support for the full equality of sexual gender minorities.

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