PM banned from Mardi Gras as an official guest over marriage equality anger

Source: AAP

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has passed a motion officially banning the Prime Minister from being invited as a guest to next year's parade in response to the Government's position on marriage equality.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will not be welcome at next year's Mardi Gras parade in Sydney after the organisation voted to ban him from the guest list at its annual general meeting today.

The motion was put in response to the PM's position on holding a controversial plebiscite instead of a free vote to decide whether to allow LGBTI people the right to marry in Australia and that after the failure of the plebiscite in the senate this week there were "no plans" to act on marriage equality during the remaining term of the current parliament according to the PM.

The motion stated: “the Annual General Meeting of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras does not believe that a Prime Minister who denies us equality should be welcome as an official guest at our parade.”

Mardi Gras Festival
Mardi Gras Festival parade.

“We ask the Board to act in accordance with this position and issue a public statement as it applies to the current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the 2017 Mardi Gras parade and does not invite him as an official guest to the parade,’’ it stated.

A spokesman for Mardi Gras told SBS the motion had been put through but said there would be no official comment until after the AGM had wrapped up.

It was put forward by Cat Rose and seconder Patrick Wright who are co-conveners of Sydney-based activist group Community Action Against Homophobia, who along with other activists, attended the AGM in large numbers as members to force the current board to bring forward and vote on the motion today.

Ms Rose said in a statement: "Turnbull hijacked the Mardi Gras parade this year. He was happy to come and get his media opportunity and spruik his supposedly pro-gay values but what has he given us since?" the statement read.

"He has been nothing but a conduit for homophobes wanting to derail marriage equality through a vindictive plebiscite. We wanted to express our disgust at his Prime Ministership as a community and to say that we don't need his phony friendship. "

The plebiscite was a controversial measure that opponents said would encourage hate speech and attacks and was expensive and unnecessary when it could be decided by a free vote in parliament.

Last year the PM became the first sitting prime minister to attend Mardi Gras despite complaints from some right wing members of the Liberal backbench.

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