Topics:  byron bay, editors picks, equality, gay marriage, simon richardson

Byron mayor vows to "lead the charge" for gay marriage

Mayor Simon Richardson: I have no doubt that the residents will group together and form an action plan and council staff will assist wherever they can.
Mayor Simon Richardson: I have no doubt that the residents will group together and form an action plan and council staff will assist wherever they can.

MAYOR Simon Richardson wants Byron Shire to "lead the charge" for marriage equality in Australia and is even considering producing symbolic marriage certificates that he could present at ceremonies for same sex couples

Cr Richardson is preparing a notice of motion to place on record the shire's support for marriage equality and is looking for more ideas, "both symbolic and substantial to add weight to this".

A marriage registry in Byron Shire for gay couples and handing out a tree to them on their union to plant in a "love park", are some of the ideas that he's already considering.

He said he hoped Byron's stance would prompt similar action from councils across Australia, placing pressure on the Federal Government to reverse its opposition to gay marriage in this election year.

He said even those not convinced by the equality argument may be persuaded by the amount of pink dollars such a stance would likely inject into the shire's economy.

Cr Richardson said he would liaise with locals and groups like Australian Marriage Equality and the Greens own equivalent group before bringing a motion before council at Easter.

Shane Duniam from Northern Rivers gay and lesbian group Tropical Fruits said such symbolic support would likely enhance the Northern Rivers' growing reputation as a gay travel Mecca.

Mr Duniam said it was important that councils were inclusive.

"Just the recognition would mean a lot. Symbols are important," he said.

But deputy mayor Diane Woods said social issues were not the domain of local government.

"I'm not against the concept but it's got nothing to do with us," Cr Woods said.



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