SAME-sex marriage supporters have abandoned plans for a counter protest at the Coalition for Marriage rally at the University of Tasmania tonight.
One of the organisers Rhiannon Gray posted to the planned event’s Facebook page “Marriage equality UTas protest” saying they could not obtain a permit.
‘We could have gone with a permit-less protest, but in the interests of goodwill with the uni as well as the public appearance of the marriage equality movement, we decided to cancel,” she said.
The Coalition for Marriage rally is scheduled for evening at the Stanley Burbury theatre after the University backflipped on a decision not to allow the group access.
EARLIER: SAME-sex marriage supporters will gather at the University of Tasmania tonight to protest against a Coalition for Marriage rally.
A Facebook event “Marriage equality UTas protest” indicates that the protest has been watered down from a “peaceful” counter protest to a peaceful night-time picnic above the Centenary building.
An early post to the page urged protesters to gather at the Stanley Burbury Theatre and “please be polite when interacting with the bigots”.
But a recent post from organiser Rhiannon Gray has backed off.
“After discussion we will NOT be protesting outside the Stanley Burbury. All that would achieve is feeding the narrative of ‘silencing free speech’ – realistically we aren’t going to change any no-votes to yes-es,” she wrote.
“Instead we will have a peaceful nightime picnic protest above the Centenary Building in solidarity with all the queer students at UTAS who are feeling hurt by the events of yesterday and the past few months.
“We will keep paths clear and most importantly we will ‘not’ shout at or intimidate people trying to go to the CFM event.”
The Coalition for Marriage rally found a venue at the 11th hour yesterday after the University backed down and allowed the Coaltion to hire the venue.
MORE: VENUE AT LAST FOR HOBART ‘NO’ VOTE RALLY
Federal Group and another venue operator had refused to hire premises.
Speakers are Australian Conservatives leader Senator Cory Bernardi, the face of the Coalition for Marriage’s television advertising campaign Heidi McIvor, Coalition for Marriage spokespeople Lyle Shelton and Karen Dickson and the Archbishop Porteous.
An early post to the counter-protest Facebook page said: “Please be polite when interacting with the bigots! We don’t want to give them any ammunition.
“The Coalition for marriage is holding a hate rally at the Stanley Burbury theatre at UTAS.”
“Lets show them what love looks like with a ‘peaceful’ counter protest.
“Our aim is to outnumber the pro-inequality people and to demonstrate that they don’t need to be afraid of LGBTQIA people.
‘Their event is at 7pm so we should turn up before then and start camping out.”
The language in the early message flies in the face of a call from long-time marriage equality campaigner Rodney Croome who urged people on both sides of the to talk in a respectful way.
“I urge marriage equality supporters not to casually throw around the word ‘bigot’ and I urge those against the reform not to use offensive terms like stolen generation to describe the children of same-sex couples,” he said.