Australia marriage equality rally draws record crowds ahead of postal vote

Sydney marriage march

A rally in support of same-sex marriage held in Sydney, Australia has drawn record numbers of people.

The rally was held ahead of the start of the postal survey on Sunday.

Over 20,000 people were drawn to the event making it one of the biggest marriage equality protests in the country to date.

Police have not confirmed the number.

Organisers called it the “largest” demonstration for LGBT+ rights.

Cat Rose from Community Action Against Homophobia said that they were “blown away by the response”.

“The force we’ve shown today puts us in a good stead to win this battle over the next couple of months,” Rose added.

Ballots will start to be mailed out from September 12.

Related: What the hell is going on with same-sex marriage in Australia?

A result of the survey is expected by mid-November.

Bill Shorten, the leader of the opposition party in government said that it was crucial the law was changed at the event.

“We’ve got one last mountain to climb before we make marriage equality a reality. Let’s climb it together, today,” he said.

Counter protesters

Counter protesters (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that he would be voting in favour of marriage.

He said: “Throughout my public life I’ve sought to ensure same-sex couples are not discriminated against and their entitlements, be it in respect of medical benefits, taxation, superannuation or employment, are no different to those afforded to heterosexual couples. Why then shouldn’t those same rights now be extended to marriage?”

“Many people will vote ‘yes’, as I will, because they believe the right to marry is a conservative ideal as much as any other principle,” he added.

A group of counter protesters were also at the rally carrying signs which called for the country to keep “traditional” marriage.

The postal survey was criticised by LGBT+ activists because it is not legally binding and comes with a huge cost to tax payers.

An estimated $122m Australian dollars (£75m; $97m) will be spent on campaigns as well as running the vote.

A lawsuit was launched in the High Court against the survey but the court ruled that it should go ahead.