Thousands of people attended a rally in
Sydney, Australia ahead of the introduction of a gay marriage bill.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten is
expected to introduce his legislative proposal on Monday.
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek was
among the politicians who spoke at the rally.
She told the cheering crowd that there
was a high likelihood of passage if members of Australia's ruling coalition were allowed to vote as they choose on the issue.
“Bipartisanship is so very important
for this issue to succeed,” she
said. “I know there are other Liberals and Nationals who are
supporters of marriage equality.”
Christine Forster, a local politician
and the gay sister of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, an
opponent of marriage equality, introduced to the crowd her “beautiful
fiance” Virginia Edwards.
“Why wouldn't I marry this beautiful
woman as soon as I possibly could?” Forster said.
Lawmakers in 2012 rejected a similar
Shorten announced his plans shortly
after Ireland became the first nation to approve marriage equality
through a popular referendum.
The Irish vote has put pressure on
other governments to follow suit, especially in nations – such as
Australia – where support for such unions runs high.