gay couples say ‘i do’ in byron bay

gay couples say ‘i do’ in byron bay

in an historic announcement, the byron shire council has declared it will support gay marriages by providing a symbolic certificate of marriage to same sex couples who tie the knot in the byron shire. please find below the media release issued by byron shire council on 15 march 2013.

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Marriage equality proposal sees Council say ‘We do’

15 March 2013

At the risk of sounding cliche, ‘love is in the air’ and Byron Shire Council has opened it’s arms to same sex couples who would like to be married within the Shire.

At yesterday’s Ordinary Meeting, the Council declared itself a supporter of marriage equality. As a result, Council will now be providing a symbolic Byron Shire Certificate of Marriage when requested for same sex marriage ceremonies within the Shire.

Mayor Simon Richardson said Council wanted society to know that the Shire supports marriage equality and that this loving union is recognised, respected and validated.

“Whilst it may be symbolic, we have an opportunity to lead within Australia and it’s time to take a stance.

“Locally when residents are being discriminated against, we need speak out and support them. There are times to take a principled stance and this is one of them,” Mayor Richardson said.

Along with the marriage certificate, Council will also consider a ‘Love Garden’ where by a tree is planted in a public space to record and celebrate a same sex marriage within Byron Shire.

Mayor Richardson said the park could become a symbol of the community’s expression for inclusion and support for marriage equality.

“There no greater symbol of love, than a tree. It is beautiful to observe and be near, it grows and changes, it blossoms and is watered by tears and laughter.

“Commitment to a relationship is not easy. They require tenacity, flexibility and strong will. Trees too require these attributes to survive,” he said.

Councillor Paul Spooner also told the gallery that Council has a responsibility to look after the community.

“One of the biggest risks to young people in regional communities is feelings of alienation that comes with being gay. These feelings can contribute to youth suicide.

“This is one small way in which we can support gay people and let them know they are embraced in our community,” Cr Spooner said.

The Mayor or another Council representative will present the symbolic marriage certificate at the ceremony if requested and if availability permits. The costs for the registry and certificate will be paid for by the recipients.

Byron Shire Council will also create a Proclamation of Local Government Support for Marriage Equality and will write to all Local Government Areas in Australia, invite them to co-sign the proclamation. The community will be invited to contribute text for the proclamation and upon the completion of the co-signing, it will be forwarded to the Prime Minister.

Council will also create a Mayors for Marriage Equality group and write to all Local Government Mayors in Australia, inviting them to join the group and input into ways to formalise and develop this collaboration.