The campaign for marriage equality is gathering pace as LGBTI groups prepare to call for change at the ALP National Conference in Sydney on December 3.

Progressive activist group GetUp! has launched a final petition campaign before the conference in response to church leaders organising their own against same-sex marriage.

GetUp! campaigner Paul Mackay said the organisation was aware that conservative pastors would be lobbying congregations across Australia to sign a petition against marriage equality.

“They’re pulling out all the stops because the momentum we’ve built is reaching MPs and they know Australians want marriage equality,” Mackay said.

Mackay also revealed that the group would meet with Prime Minister Julia Gillard before the conference.

“Nearly six months ago we won a dinner for six with the PM at a charity auction, and planned to use that dinner for three same-sex couples to make the case for marriage equality,” Mackay said.

“We were told then that we’d have the dinner before the National Conference, so it will happen any day now, and like all good dinner guests the three inspirational couples will bring with them a bottle of wine and a huge national petition.

“When delegates take to the conference floor, we will equip them with the support they need to say Australians demand equality, and an end to the homophobic hatred and bigotry that will continue so long as we have inequality enshrined in law.”

PFLAG Australia national spokeswoman Shelley Argent (pictured) said the rally outside the conference would show ALP delegates that the community wanted change.

“It’s time for those who don’t normally … have a voice to be seen en masse and to let delegates see the faces of those affected directly by the present discrimination in this country,” she said.

PFLAG will join groups including Australian Marriage Equality, New Mardi Gras, Community Action Against Homophobia and Equal Love Melbourne in calling for change on the day.

Sydney City Council recently passed a motion in support of a change to the Marriage Act and will fly a rainbow flag over the Town Hall to show its support during the conference.

The December 3 rally will start at noon at Hyde Park North (Sydney) and protesters will march to the ALP Conference at the Sydney Convention Centre.

INFO: Sign the petition at www.getup.org.au/marriagematters

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