SPRINGHURST couple Jaime and Taylor Hegarty held hands and wiped away tears as they sat among about 300 people in QEII Square for Albury-Wodonga’s first rally for marriage equality.
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Marriage was once a pipe dream for the lesbian couple, who have been engaged for a year, but after Saturday’s show of support they said marriage had turned from an “if” to a “when”.
“It’s amazing,” Jaime, 35, said.
“I feel exhilarated. I feel freer than I ever have.”
Jaime and Taylor held hands as they walked down Dean Street to the Equal Love rally.
Jaime wiped away the tears underneath her sunglasses. She grew up in northern Queensland at Charters Towers, the same home town as Bob Katter, whose half-brother Carl Katter attended the rally.
Jaime got married — “like you do” — and for 10 years she wrestled with her identity.
She came out five years ago and met Taylor through a friend.
“I’m just sorry I didn’t do it sooner,” she said.
The rally was organised by local heterosexual woman, Rhiannon Konigson, who wants her gay friends to have equal rights.
Along with Mr Katter, Australian Coalition for Equality founder Rodney Croome addressed the crowd.
Mr Croome said the number of people showed the push for gay marriage would not stop.
Mr Katter said local politicians needed to start reflecting what the community wanted.
“Politicians shouldn’t underestimate our power. At the next election, this will be a major issue,” Mr Katter said.
Albury teenager Morgan Howe, 15, skipped down Dean Street with her friend before the rally started, both dressed in rainbow coloured clothes.
One young woman told them they were “disgusting” but Morgan said seconds later, a group of people gathered around them and gave them a “massive cheer”.
“It’s days like this when you’re really at one with yourself and the community,” she said.
Support group Hume Phoenix’s petition for gay marriage attracted more than 300 signatures at the rally. The petition will be handed to federal MPs Sophie Mirabella and Sussan Ley, who did not attend due to prior commitments.