Thousands of people rallied in
Melbourne on Saturday to protest Australian Prime Minister Tony
Abbott's decision not to allow a free vote on a gay marriage bill.
The decision by Abbott's ruling
conservative coalition effectively doomed the legislative proposal.
Abbott promised to hold a public vote
on legalizing such unions if his government is re-elected next year.
Critics, however, point out that such votes are not binding.
“Plebiscites are not binding, there
is no time frame with a plebiscite, and the danger if the Greens and
Labor back this plebiscite move, is that if the outcome at the
election is not favorable, then Labor would possibly have to be bound
by the plebiscite,” Anthony Wallace from Equal Love told the crowd.
“So, I tell Tony Abbott: Stick your
plebiscite where the sun don't shine,” he added.
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
called a popular vote on the issue unnecessary.
“As for a plebiscite, that will be a
$150 million tax-payer funded opinion poll to tell us what we already
know – we want marriage equality now,” he said.
Polls show a majority (72%) of
Australians support marriage equality.