Thousands have gathered in Brisbane to march in support of same-sex marriage, flooding the city streets with rainbow flags and “yes” signs.
The crowd, which organisers said was the largest ever to gather at a Queensland marriage equality rally, packed into Queens Park on Sunday afternoon ahead of a march through the CBD.
Equal Love Brisbane organiser Jess Payne told the rainbow-coloured crowd: “We know the vast majority of people in Australia support equal rights.
“We’re going to win this ‘yes’ vote and we’re going to see marriage equality by the end of the year.”
Australian Marriage Equality’s Queensland director Peter Black warned supporters not to be complacent and urged everyone to talk to family and friends about the issue over the next month and encourage them to vote.
“The ‘yes’ campaign must be positive and respectful. You don’t persuade anyone by calling them names or putting them down,” he said.
“We have to have a series of respectful conversations with our friends, family, colleagues and teammates and explain to them why marriage equality matters.
“Let’s come together and get this done.”
Sunshine Coast student Sam Bouzanquet (pictured below), 16, addressed the rally to encourage a “yes” vote and said he was giving a voice to young people who aren’t old enough to vote in the survey but support the reform in large numbers.
“Ninety-two percent of millenials and three-quarters of the population support marriage equality. Why are we wasting $122 million on the postal vote when we already know the answer?” he said.
In Sydney, thousands gathered at a marriage equality rally outside Town Hall the same afternoon, following rallies in Melbourne and Perth in recent weeks.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will begin mailing out survey forms with the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” on Tuesday, after the High Court dismissed a legal challenge to the process last week.
All 16 million forms are set to be delivered by September 25. Forms must be returned by November 7 and the result will be announced at 11:30am on November 15.
Equal Love Brisbane announced another rally would be held on October 21, ahead of the deadline for the return of the forms.
If a majority vote yes in the survey, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said a free vote would be held on a private member’s bill by the end of the year.