Some 60 marriage equality advocates from across Australia will converge on Canberra on Wednesday to tell parliamentarians how the issue affects them on a personal level.
The campaigners, ranging in age from 9 to 91, will travel to the capital following a number of recent developments in advance of the Australian Labor Party's consideration of whether to change its platform or hold a conscience vote on marriage equality at its national conference in December. The ruling party is split on the issue, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who opposes same-sex marriage, facing pressure to broker a resolution.
According to the International Business Times, the Victorian ALP state conference voted to support a policy change on Saturday, and on Sunday, outgoing South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced his support for marriage equality, followed by an announcement from South Australian opposition leader Isobel Redmond. Previously, popular rugby player David Pocock announced his support and said that he and his girlfriend would not wed until their gay friends can marry.
On Wednesday, marriage equality advocates will meet with lawmakers including Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who over the weekend said he would deny his Liberal Party members a conscience vote on same-sex marriage even if Labor grants one to its members. His move would effectively prevent the current parliament from amending the Marriage Act, according to The Australian.
Australian Marriage Equality convener Alex Greenwich addressed Abbot's recent statement in a news release on Tuesday.
"As part of the lobbying day Tony Abbott will hopefully meet some of his constituents who support marriage equality and their message to him will be that the Coalition must have a conscience vote if it is to be true to its principles of individual conscience," he said.