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Hundreds rally for same-sex marriage

Marriage equality supporters have rallied in Sydney as part of a national day of protest across the country.

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Hundreds of supporters gathered outside Town Hall to protest against the amendment to the Marriage Act banning same sex marriage, passed by the Howard Government in 2004.

“This is the seventh year we’ve gathered on this place and called for something very simple, which marriage equality,” NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge told the crowd on Saturday afternoon.

“This is a call that’s coming out not from the margins of Australian society – this is a mainstream issue with majority support across Australia.”

Mr Shoebridge said the majority of members in the Labor Party wanted their parliamentarians to legislate marriage equality.

Cat Rose, the co-convenor of the Community Action Against Homophobia, said protests were an opportunity to pressure the Labor Party before their National Conference in December where marriage equality would be debated.

“We’ve seen more and more people in the Labor Party prepared to come out and speak out in support of marriage equality,” Ms Rose said.

“That really means that we have an opportunity here … to actually get out there and win marriage equality.

“We’re making headway, we can see that because of the turmoil that the Labor Party is in at the moment.

“Julia Gillard and other people in the party are in battle with each other about what the party’s platform is going to be.”

In Brisbane,some protesters came dressed as Jesus Christ and the Pope in Queens Park.

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters was among the speakers at the rally and encouraged people to write to their federal MPs and call for the Labor party to allow their members to have a conscience vote on the issue.

“The Greens have got a bill before parliament to remove that definition of marriage as being only between a man and a woman to allow anyone who loves them to marry them,” Ms Waters told AAP.

“The Labor party is well aware of the bill before parliament and we are holding off on bringing it back in until the federal Labor party gives its members a conscience vote at the national conference.”

Ms Waters said state Labor governments, including the Queensland government, have shown support for same-sex marriage.

“The Queensland Labor conference recently supported marriage rights for all but the problem is the marriage act is a federal law,” she said.

“SA, ACT and WA state Labor also supported gay marriage rights at their conferences but the NSW Labor party did not.”

Rallies were also held in Melbourne, protestors are expected to rally in Canberra on Sunday.

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