Hundreds march for marriage equality in Rockhampton
AMONG the cries of 'equal love and equal rights' at Riverside Park yesterday afternoon, the steady beat of a drum and unique sound of an accordion were hard to miss.
Mt Morgan man Nicholai von Tonslamann and his partner Tony Widjnya set the beat for over 300 people to march to at the Central Queensland Marriage Equality Rally.
The couple, who have been together for over 20 years, were overjoyed to see so many people, including families, turn out to support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community in their fight for equality.
Nicholai said while he and Tony had no desire to get married, they would always support the right for everyone to live equally.
"To be frank I really don't care about marriage as such but I support people's right to get married if they want to," Nicholai said.
"Personally I never would even if I was straight. I've been with Tony now for about 20 years and it has never crossed our mind.
"It's just about equality; it's not about anything else. I think the word marriage gets stuck in the way."
Rockhampton 19-year-old Kathleen McPherson-Egan only recently discovered her sexuality and was overwhelmed to see such strong community support for LGBTI equality.
"I haven't had any struggles with coming out because I only really just discovered it myself. I have a lot of family and friends as support," Ms McPherson-Egan said.
"I am proudly bisexual but I do lean more towards women. I think people should respect that.
"It makes me so happy to see so many people here today, I want to cry.
"Knowing that here in Rockhampton, a semi-small town, there are so many people that support it, it's amazing.
"This is what we need now in 2015."
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga and Federal Labor candidate for Capricornia Leisa Neaton both attended the rally.
Both Mrs Lauga and Mrs Neaton were vocal in their support for marriage equality and were among a long list of speakers at the event.
Attendees were asked to share selfies with the hash tag 'equalove' and 'lovewontwaitcq' on social media.
The group also left a recorded message with Australian Marriage Equality to be sent to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Over 300 people marched through Rockhampton for marriage equality