Marriage equality rallies are underway in Sydney and Melbourne, with participants calling on the Turnbull Government to scrap its planned plebiscite and legalise gay marriage through a parliamentary vote.
The rallies, organised by the community groups Equal Love and Community Action Against Homophobia, started at 1pm (AEST) and are part of a long-running push by gay marriage advocates to resolve the issue.
The Sydney rally is taking place at the city's town hall while across the border it's underway at the State Library of Victoria.
— Sydney Mardi Gras (@sydneymardigras) October 8, 2016
"Every opinion poll for the past nine years has shown a clear majority of the population in favour of equal marriage rights. We are tired of parliament hand waving our rights; we deserve equality now!," Community Action Against Homophobia says on its Facebook page.
"There are two bills ready to go in the lower house. Our demand is to PASS THE DAMN BILL.
"The vast majority of people support our rights, so what are we waiting for?! Come together at Town Hall, show up in huge numbers. Put pressure on the pollies to catch up with the rest of us and make our right to equality the law."
The coalition wants to spend $160 million on a national vote to decide whether gay marriage becomes a reality in Australia.
Labor and the Greens, by contrast, want a free parliamentary vote on the issue and argue that there is no reason to hold a nationwide plebiscite, which they say is unnecessarily costly and time-consuming.
The government recently laid out their plans for the plebiscite but may not have enough support in the Senate for the enabling legislation to pass the upper house.Suggest a correction