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Love in all forms celebrated at ChillOut festival

LOVE is love.

That was the overarching message at the ChillOut carnival day, with same-sex couples celebratingtheir relationshipswith others.

It seems simple, says gay celebrant Leslie Ridgeway – to accept those for who they are – but the journey towardstrue equalityis still a long way ahead.

She said while ChillOut was a great example of all that is possible,so many gay and lesbian couples remained in limbo due to government policy which prevented them from getting married.

She knows the day of change will come – but when that will be remains a mystery.

“I couldn’t tell you why we are so backward in our country, but it has a lot to do with our political representation,” she said.

“It does seem like we’ll be the last ones in an English speaking country to be allowed to marry.

“To have a wedding means the world to some, so we just need to keep fighting and making it known we are the same as everyone.”

Ms Ridgewayspends her days chatting about relationshipsand marriage with engaged couples, and says it is heart breakingso many are excluded from that right.

“Many gay and lesbians don’t care about marriage, but for some, it’s all they want.It’s just about fairness, and treating people the same,” she said.

“People still sexualise gays and lesbians and say we’re the same as paedophiles, but it’s not about sex – it’s just about love.”

Entertainment director TanyaBaricevich echoed Ms Ridgeway’s sentiments, saying marriage equality was still an important goal for those living in Daylesford and surrounds.

“Festivals like ChillOut go a long way in working towards equality and giving people the chance to be who they are, no matter what,” she said.

“”We know Daylesford is a warm and accepting place,but marriage equalityreally does remain significant for those living as LGBTI.”

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