By ALLISON HORE
A new rainbow footpath has been unveiled in Surry Hills just in time for Mardi Gras. The footpath serves as a reminder both for how far the LGBTQI+ community has come and how far it has to go.
The 90-metre path runs alongside the area of Prince Alfred Park now known “Equality Green” as a tribute to a public gathering of tens of thousands of people awaiting the result of 2017’s same sex marriage plebiscite.
The plebiscite asked Australians to vote on whether or not same-sex marriage should be made legal in Australia by amending the Marriage Act 1961 to allow marriage between 2 persons, regardless of their gender. After the result came back a decisive “yes”, with more than 61% of the votes, the gathering became a celebration.
Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who was present for the Prince Alfred Park celebration, said the path is a permanent tribute to the moment when more than 30,000 Sydney-siders gathered together to hear the results of the marriage equality postal survey in 2017.
“On that day, love won,” she said.
Standing on the rainbow path as it was revealed, Ms. Moore said “it’s beautiful, it’s curved, and it’s celebrating Equality Green which is where we all heard the fantastic announcement of the outcome of the voluntary survey to say that 60 percent of Australians supported marriage equality.”
More work to do
Independent member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, was one of the key figures in the “yes” campaign, and it was his proposal which led to a portion of Prince Alfred Park being renamed Equality Green. Nearly 74 percent of people living within his electorate voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.
He joined Ms. Moore for the unveiling of the new rainbow-brick road.
“This beautiful rainbow path reminds us of the significant achievement for Sydney and for the LGBTQI community, the achievement of marriage equality,” said Mr. Greenwich.
“But it’s also a reminder that the path to equality continues and there is certainly still more work to do.”
The footpath was originally proposed by Surry Hills Creative Precinct in 2019.
“Surry Hills has long been at the vanguard of diversity and inclusivity, and the name Equality Green is a great reflection of that,” said Leigh Harris, President of the Surry Hills Creative Precinct.
“Having the rainbow walk painted at the site will be a permanent reminder of our contribution to that historic change.”
The new footpath joins the rainbow crossing in Darlinghurst and the soon-to-appear rainbow walkway at Coogee Beach which was unanimously supported by Randwick Council. Coogee’s rainbow is due to take shape in February.