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NSW Police Uninvited From Mardi Gras Parade

NSW police have had their Mardi Gras invitation revoked after an officer was charged with the murder of a gay couple last week.
Arielle Richards
Melbourne, AU
Cops at Mardi Gras, Sydney. Photo via Nine News.

NSW police have had their invitation to Sydney Mardi Gras revoked after an officer was charged with the murder of a gay couple last week.

Late Monday night, the organisers of Sydney’s annual Mardi Gras parade asked police not to participate in Saturday’s event.

The decision by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board follows the alleged murder of Sydney couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, for which NSW constable Beau Lamarre was charged last week.


In a statement, the board said the wider community had been devastated by the loss of the couple, “whose lives had been cut short”, and that space was needed to grieve their loss.

“Having the NSW Police march this year could add to the distress within our communities, already deeply affected by recent events. The Board has taken the decision to request that the Police do not march in the 2024 Parade,” it said.

The board noted that 28-year-old Lamarre had marched in the parade in the past.

“This decision was not made lightly,” the board added, “Especially considering that many NSW Police members who participate in the Parade are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community and are navigating the impact of this tragedy alongside us. However, we believe that their participation at this year’s event could intensify the current feelings of sorrow and distress.”

A spokesperson from NSW Police said that while it was “disappointed” with the outcome, police would “continue to work closely with the LGBTQIA+ community”.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb said she would meet with the board on Tuesday.


“I have to accept their decision, and we will ... agree with their decision, of course, but I’d just like to meet with them and talk about how this may adversely affect police, particularly members of the gay and lesbian community,” she said.

Webb is facing backlash for her handling of the case. On Monday, she referred to the double homicide as a “crime of passion”.

Defending her poor choice of words, she told Nine’s Today program: “What I did say was it is a crime and of course [it is] domestic violence, stalking and murder,” she told Nine’s Today program.

“What I was intending is to say that it’s actually not a gay hate crime.”

On Tuesday, in an interview on Sunrise, she responded to a question about whether she should face criticism over her handling of the case with a Taylor Swift reference.

The commissioner said, “There will always be haters. Haters like to hate. Isn’t that what Taylor [Swift] says?”

Premier Chris Minns said he was hopeful NSW Police and the Mardi Gras board could come to an agreement that would “yield a breakthrough”.

“There are a lot of gay and lesbian police officers who are proud of their profession and proud of their community, and want to march, and many of them have been marching for the last two decades,” he said.


Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said while he understood the grief and pain the murders had caused, he hoped the board would rethink its decision.

“It’s my view that the LGBTQ community and the police need to work together to make Sydney a safer place, that we need to stand together, and that includes at the Mardi Gras parade,” he told the ABC.

Mardi Gras was formed in 1978, after a small group of Gay and Lesbian protestors were subjected to a night of police violence after they had gathered in Darlinghurst, Sydney for an international day of action for gay rights.

Uniformed police have marched in the Sydney parade since 1998.

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