Vastavam web: Thousands of Australians dressed in rainbow colours rallied today in support of same-sex marriage ahead of a postal ballot, as polls showed the “yes” campaign’s lead shrinking despite backing from the nation’s top political leaders.Carrying vibrant posters and calling for marriage equality, the marchers packed the streets of central Sydney and Brisbane two days before the ballot papers were set to be mailed out to some 15 millions Australians.
Marriage equality has attracted popular support in recent years, but such unions are yet to be legalised in the country amid political wrangling. In a bid to resolve the issue, the conservative government moved to hold a postal ballot after its preferred option of a national referendum was twice rejected by the upper house.”Our expectation is that should be accomplished by the end of the year – it will sail through the parliament.”
But the success of the “yes” vote is not certain, with a poll conducted for a major same-sex marriage advocacy group and shared with Fairfax Media on Saturday showing that support for the change was falling.The poll, conducted between late August and early September, showed that 58.4 per cent of those surveyed supported a “yes” vote, down six percentage points from just two weeks earlier.The survey also showed that turnout for the voluntary ballot could be very low, and at just 58 per cent of those aged 18-34 – the age group viewed as more receptive to gay marriage.
Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten, who supports the change, told the Sydney rally the ballot was about “our identity as a nation”.”Do we believe in equal care for all, equal rights for all? We can win this thing. We can climb this mountain.” “No” campaign supporters, including hundreds who rallied in Sydney yesterday, argue that changing marriage laws would infringe on religious freedom and children’s rights.
Andrew Pasco, one of thousands of people who packed the streets of Sydney for the “yes” campaign rally on Sunday, said he was worried the polarising debate could discourage moderate Australians from voting.”I am genuinely concerned that as the conversations get driven to extremities on both the left and right, that that will also alienate the people in the middle that aren’t directly impacted to speak up and have a voice,” he told.