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Gay marriage rallies across Australia on Saturday

Advocates are turning to people power as latest poll shows highest support for gay marriage yet
Marriage equality rally in Melbourne in 2009

Advocates for gay marriage in Australia are calling on supporters to gather in cities across the nation on Saturday to call on politicians not to leave the country behind.

Australia is the only country in the English-speaking developed world where both the head of the government and the leader of the opposition are against same-sex marriage.

Despite a recent poll showing public support for marriage equality at 64%, both Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott are against a change in legislation to allow gay marriage.

Abbott will not allow Liberal and National MPs in the coalition he leads to have a conscience vote on the issue - meaning that bills currently before parliament are likely to be rejected by the House.

‘Tony Abbott has nothing to fear from allowing a conscience vote on equal marriage rights,’ said Equal Love Canberra spokesperson Chris Bourne, pointing to the new poll which also showed that 52% of coalition voters support same-sex marriage.

Rallies for marriage equality will be held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide and Newcastle.

In response to the resistance of the central government on marriage equality, state governments in Tasmania and ACT (Australian Capital Territories) are trying to legalize gay marriage themselves.

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