City of Vincent adopts Marriage Equality Proclamation

Koji Yamanaka and Robert Hart with Markus the dog. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d429740
Koji Yamanaka and Robert Hart with Markus the dog. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d429740

THE City of Vincent has stepped up where the Federal Government is failing by adopting a Marriage Equality Proclamation, says Vincent councillor Emma Cole.

Cr Cole made the comment while speaking for the proclamation, which was adopted at the Tuesday, November 18 council meeting.

The idea came from the Byron Shire Council, who invited councils across Australia to support marriage equality and adopt a proclamation that states that they support marriage between two committed adults, regardless of their gender or sexuality.

Vincent Mayor John Carey will also join the Mayors for Marriage Equality Group.

All Vincent councillors voiced their support for marriage equality but a number of councillors questioned whether it was local government’s place to make decisions about moral issues.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Rights in Ageing chairwoman June Lowe said she welcomed the proclamation, which showed how far society has come in acceptance and celebration of gay and lesbian relationships.

‘It’s an indicator of how far we’ve come and it’s worth standing back in wonderment for a moment,’ June said.

‘The message of acceptance it sends out in itself is healing. It’s transformative. Everything a local government does can help shape opinions.’

June said adopting the proclamation was a valuable thing to have done amongst growing conservatism in the community.

‘Nobody should feel that acceptance of relationships is predicated on the mainstream, conservative model of marriage,’ she said. ‘But we welcome this and we applaud the City of Vincent for this decision.’

Robert Hart and Koji Yamanaka have been living together for more than 12 years and were one of the first couples to use the City of Vincent’s relationship declaration register.

Mr Hart said Vincent was sympathetic to the diverse community it represented. Mr Yamanaka said the couple supported the movement and encouraged marriage equality.

‘Freedoms and rights don’t just drop from the sky,’ Mr Yamanaka said.

‘We are very happy with our council doing this. We feel lucky to live in the City of Vincent.’