A record number of Australians filled Sydney's central business district on Sunday, Sept. 10, to show their support for same-sex marriage as the country prepares to cast a public vote on its legalization. More than 30,000 supporters gathered around Sydney's Town Hall before marching down Park and Elizabeth Streets toward Circular Quay, in what organizers are calling the largest LGBTQ+ demonstration in Australian history.
The streets were filled with rainbow-colored get-ups, along with thousands of signs with messages such as "Our Love Shouldn't Be a Debate," "Vote Yes!," and "Fear Should Not Decide the Future." Various politicians, such as opposition leader Bill Shorten and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, were also in attendance.
Speaking to the crowds, Shorten said: "We've got one last mountain to climb before we make marriage equality a reality. Let's climb it together today."
The Sydney rally was organized by GetUp and Community Action Against Homophobia, with similar demonstrations held in Melbourne and Brisbane. The demonstration came a few days before the postal survey forms were due to be mailed out on Sept. 12, with a result on the survey expected to be announced on Nov. 15. If Australians vote "no," the government won't move forward to change the existing laws, which currently bar same-sex marriage. But if a majority vote "yes," a bill will go to Parliament, moving Australia one step closer to joining the more than two dozen countries where same-sex marriage is legal.