(L-R)Christine Forster, Virginia Edwards, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, politician Tanya Plibersek (C), Jackie Stricker and Dr Kerryn Phelps make a love heart sign with their hands signalling for marriage equality on May 31, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Demonstrators are calling on the government to allow for a free vote on marriage equality. (May 30, 2015 - Source: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images AsiaPac)
(L-R)Christine Forster, Virginia Edwards, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, politician Tanya Plibersek (C), Jackie Stricker and Dr Kerryn Phelps make a love heart sign with their hands signalling for marriage equality on May 31, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Demonstrators are calling on the government to allow for a free vote on marriage equality. (May 31, 2015 - Source: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images AsiaPac)
2 min read

More than 1500 people rallied in Sydney on Sunday in support of a free vote when the Australian Labor Party’s same-sex marriage bill is introduced to federal parliament on Monday.

Politicians joined church leaders and the general public in a show of support, the first rally to be held following Ireland’s historic marriage equality vote last week.

Even though the bill to put the issue to parliament will be motioned by Labor Leader Bill Shorten, there is considerable movement within Liberal ranks for the bill to be re-done and signed by all sides of parliament, therefore almost ensuring safe passage.

In the Senate as it stands marriage equality would pass but if all were given a free vote on the issue, the lower house looks like it would be still some votes short of a majority.

Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek joined Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s gay sister Christine Forster at the rally and both declared it was time for change.

“This is the last piece of unfinished business,” she said of gay and lesbian rights.

Ms Plibersek said a bipartisan approach to the bill would give it a much greater chance of succeeding, especially if someone in the coalition seconded it.

“This is a matter that transcends politics,” she said today. While the Prime Minister’s sister has been critical of the Labor Leader, she also hopes her brother’s party will change it’s mind on the issue.

On breakfast program Today she said she believed the Labor Party had attempted to hijack the issue.

“I think there’s been some politics on this issue. Nobody want’s to see it become a political football,” she said.

“The Prime Minister was very clear when he was asked in Question Time through the week that this should be something that is owned by the whole parliament if this change happens — not by just one party.”

The bill motioned by Shorten alludes to the words “two people” to replace “man and woman” under Labor’s proposed change to marriage laws.

Gay and lesbian couples who have already married overseas would have their unions recognised under Australian law, with the repeal of section 88EA of the Marriage Act.

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