Same-sex marriage advocates have declared they are “as tough as nails” and will get through Australia’s divisive national debate and postal survey together.
Supporters gathered in Sydney’s Taylor Square, off Oxford Street, on Sunday for a colourful street party featuring Love Is in the Air singer John Paul Young.
Equality campaign organiser Alex Greenwich encouraged the crowd to keep the focus positive despite a group of seven same-sex marriage opponents who staged a counter rally.
“We’re going to ignore them because our campaign is all about uniting people around Australia’s values of fairness and equality,” he said.
The group of seven, which included activist Kat A Klayton, who was tied to Sydney’s controversial “Vote No” skywriting, left part-way through the performances.
Keep Sydney Open figure Tyson Koh was keen to acknowledge the national debate had been tough for many vulnerable members of the Australian LGBTIQ community.
“It’s worth also acknowledging that we are a resilient bunch. We always have been,” he said.
“The gay and lesbian community, the queer community of Sydney and Australia, is as tough as nails and we will get through this with love, with fun, with compassion by sticking together.”
The colourful crowd, which included dozens of rainbow flags, same-sex marriage signs and several rainbow-adorned dogs, erupted when Young’s famous song Love Is in the Air began.
“Now off you go and get married,” he said when the track came to a close.
Mr Greenwich said the event, which also included performances from singer Ricki-Lee Coulter and electronic music duo Peking Duk, was designed to encourage people to return their ballots at the halfway point of the campaign.
“We really need to make sure as many people vote as possible and as many people play a part in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape our nation as a fairer and more equal place,” he said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates about 57 per cent of ballots had been received as of last Friday.
The result of the voluntary postal survey will be announced on November 15.