The crowd is noisy and rainbow, spilling down the steps of Parliament House and across North Terrace. The police have to walk ahead of each tram clearing a path. They should have red flags, Julia thinks, like when trains were first invented.

Across the road a small contingent of NO voters is drowned out by a troupe of drummers. In any case it is vastly outnumbered by the YES contingent, people of every age, though at least half are young. The placards are good.

Don’t let your religion get in the way of love.

I’m straight, and my two mums are fine with that.

And Julia’s favourite: I don’t remember voting for Malcolm Turnbull’s marriage.

Cassie is oblivious, shouting above the noise, an indignant story about the Mygov office.

‘I only went in to give them my new address. It’s all bloody self-service and it took nearly an hour. And then yesterday I got a letter. And it was sent to the old address!’

Julia grins. ‘Oh well. The sun is shining. The rally is great.’

Cassie looks around. ‘You’re right. So many people. And not all GLBTQIetc either.’

‘No. The allies are out in force.’

‘I’m surprised you came. I though you didn’t believe in marriage?’

‘Oh well. It’s much more than marriage now isn’t it? It’s basic equality.’

‘Yeah. Marriage is an odd place to join battle, but there you are.’

‘To tell you the truth,’ Julia says, ‘I didn’t realise until now what a stone I’ve been carrying around. All these years.’

Cassie leans in closer to hear, and puts her arm round Julia. ‘An internal stone?’

‘Yes.’ Julia hears her voice going wobbly. ‘I didn’t realise how much I cared about acceptance.’

‘And now here are all these people who accept us.’

‘Yes. How many times have I marched for other issues? This seems like the first time everyone’s been out on the street for ME.’

Cassie hugs her and Julia laughs a little shakily.

‘I’ve come over all shy. I’m not sure whether it’s okay to thank them for coming. I feel like a little kid who didn’t really think anyone would come to her party.’

The crowd begins to move and there is more space and less noise.

As they walk Cassie considers a nearby slogan: Marriage is a CIVIL contract. Nothing to do with religion. ‘In France everyone has a registry marriage and then if you want you can have a church thing as well.’

‘Nice,’ says Julia. ‘Clear cut division of church and state.’

‘We seem to have got muddled about it here.’

‘It is in our Constitution. Doesn’t it come from Henry VIII? Stopping the church getting too powerful.’

‘Trying to stop him having six wives.’

‘Yes. All women by the way. And him a man.’

‘Speaking of the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.’

They approach Victoria Square in companionable silence, surrounded by the warm throng. Cassie points out her favourite sign.

I’m people too.


[thanks Helen Printer]