Tens of thousands of people rallied in support of same-sex marriage in Sydney on Sunday, including the prime minister and opposition leader.
The rally saw thousands of supporters flock to the streets of Sydney in what many believe is the largest march for marriage equality in Australia.
Both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten attended the rally, throwing their support behind the ‘Yes’ campaign.
Marchers took to Sydney’s streets bearing rainbow flags and signs of support for marriage equality, which is to be voted on via postal survey in the coming weeks.
Signs bearing the words ‘Vote Yes’ and ‘Yes, Love Is Enough’ were everywhere as people of all ages marched together.
Organisers have said the march was the biggest demonstration for LGBTIQ people in Australia’s history, which left Town Hall train station at a standstill, filled to capacity.
The masses marched down Park Street and Elizabeth Street towards Circular Quay where they were met by comedian Pauline Pantsdown.
Speaking before the rally, she said she was there to provide balance, representing the ‘No the whole thing is wrong and it stinks and I don’t like it campaign’.
‘I can’t think of any valid reasons against two people loving each other or being together, having support, having community around them,’ she said.
‘I will by the time the rally starts come up with some completely random, unrelated reasons and I’ll see you all then.’
The Prime Minister spoke at the NSW Liberals and Nationals for YES for Same Sex Marriage campaign launch in Sydney, telling supporters this change had already happened in many countries around the world.
‘In anyone of those nations has the sky fallen in, has life as we know it ground to a halt, has traditional marriage been undermined? The answer is plainly no,’ he said.
Mr Turnbull, who attended the rally with his daughter Daisy Turnbull Brown, said the vote was a matter of ‘fairness’.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten also attended the rally, passionately telling a packed Sydney event that he was determined to see Australia allow gay couples to marry.
He said he expected the Yes vote to prevail in the postal survey, but not because of politicians.
‘It will be because Australia has said it’s time to make marriage equality a reality. I’m very optimistic,’ Mr Shorten said.
Mr Shorten urged activists to turn their disappointment the survey was going ahead into a determination to win it.
‘We’ve got one last mountain to climb to make marriage equality a reality; let’s climb it together.’
Many marchers donned colourful outfits and bore signs declaring ‘Love is Love’ as they marched through Sydney.
‘Love is Love’ and ‘Catholics for equality’ were just some of the signs paraded peacefully down the city streets.
Men donned rainbow party mustaches and many painted their faces with the rainbow flag and love hearts.
Melbourne also rallied in support of marriage equality, with Liberal MP Tim Wilson kicking off the march with a passionate speech.
‘This postal survey is an opportunity for Australians to show our nation the type of country we want to be,’ Mr Wilson told the crowd in Melbourne.
‘It’s built on commitment, responsibility and treating all Australians with a fair go,’ he said.
Survey forms with the question ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’ will be mailed to voters from this week.
They’ll have the option to tick a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box.
The result of the survey will be announced on November 15, followed by a vote in parliament on a private member’s bill if there is a majority ‘yes’ result.
Police were in attendance at same-sex marriage rallies across the nation on Sunday, helping to ease tensions at a Brisbane rally.
Thousands of same-sex marriage campaigners rallied in Brisbane, with some responding to a religious counter-protest with an impromptu rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’.
Supporters decked out in rainbow-coloured attire crowded into Queens Gardens on Sunday afternoon, many bopping along to a soundtrack of Kylie Minogue and George Michael hits before the speeches began.
Some brandished signs – such as one that read ‘Against gay marriage? Don’t marry one’ – while others brought along brightly decorated cardboard unicorns and peace signs.
But a chorus of boos rang out from the crowd when a small opposing group arrived bearing signs reading: ‘The wicked shall be turned into hell and all nations that forget God’.
Police at the event stood between the two sides but tensions eased after the gay marriage advocates completed a chorus of the popular 70s tune.