Perth Hills community rallies behind mother whose rainbow flag was vandalised

Perth Hills community rallies behind mother whose rainbow flag was vandalised

A PERTH Hills community is rallying behind the mother of a gay child threatened for supporting marriage equality in her front yard.

Julia Burch hung a rainbow flag with the word ‘yes’ on her front gate after the Federal Government announced a nation-wide postal survey on marriage equality.

Julia Burch’s rainbow flag.

The 52-year-old said she was saddened on Saturday when she found the word ‘Aids’ sprayed across the flag.

Encouraged by hundreds of supporters online, she washed the flag and left out teddy bears with rainbow scarves as a token of her gratitude.

Rainbow teddies.

However, the following day the mother of four said someone threatened to set the flag alight.

She said the fire risk left her no alternative but to remove the flag for the safety of her family and neighbours.

“The sign was just about showing a bit of support for people who are marginalised and for any young person passing by who may be going through that stage of life, to help them feel accepted,” she said.

Mrs Burch said overwhelmingly the support had been positive, with people leaving cards and gifts at her gate.

A letter of support for Julia Burch.

“The ignorance is sad and hurtful. It’s just a survey about people having the right to marry the person they want to,” she said.

In a show of support, a neighbour displayed a flag in her garden and a business owner asked Mrs Burch to make him one for his Mundaring shop.

Butcher Gary Hine said he felt compelled to act after reading about the flag being vandalised.

“I’m putting this up to support my personal views,” he told the Gazette.

“Everyone has a right to choose and decide his or her own destiny.

“We’ve got groups of people who are persecuted because of their beliefs and lifestyle choices.

“People should be free to exercise personal choice and their rights so long as it doesn’t impact on other people negatively.

“This type of behaviour, erecting a rainbow flag on personal property, is not offending someone’s personal views.”

He said no one should fear having their property vandalised by expressing their view on marriage equality.

“To write what they wrote shows the small mindedness of some people in this country,” he said.

“There are radicals on both sides; one particular set of beliefs should not be demonised. Extremism is the enemy.”

Mr Hine said he did not select his friends based on their sexual preference.

“Everyone has the right to choose what’s right for them; this is about freedom of choice. New Zealand is way ahead of us on human rights.”

Western Australian Aids Council is offering counselling to LGBTQI people and their families about the marriage equality postal survey assisted by the WA Mental Health Commission.

The support is available online, face-to-face or by calling 1800 671 130.

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