Calls for same-sex marriage resonated loudly through the streets of Melbourne at Saturday’s Equal Love rally.

Melbourne protester turned out in their thousands, and the national turn-out was the strongest ever, especially in Sydney where numbers swelled to almost 2000.

Rival candidates for the seat of Melbourne — Labor’s Cath Bowtell and the Greens’ Adam Bandt ­— spoke to the Melbourne crowd, with television host and lesbian icon Ruby Rose lending some star power to the protest.

Despite breaking ranks with Labor policy by supporting gay marriage, Bowtell drew a hostile response.

“Things like today show public support, and it’s really important you are here and making a noise,” Bowtell said.

“The thing you have to do to get reform is … do the hard work building coalitions and reducing the voice of those who oppose it. That is vital.”

Bandt said it was up to voters to make their opinions about same-sex marriage known at the ballot box.

“We have the opportunity to put this issue on the national agenda,” he said.

“Ruby Rose asked before, what is it that makes government stand up and take notice. There is one thing that political parties do take notice of and that’s when they start losing seats and when seats start changing hands.”

Although one of the most vocal parties in support of gay marriage, the Australian Sex Party was not given an opportunity to speak at the Melbourne rally.

Rally organiser Ali Hogg told Southern Star Observer the Sex Party has been invited to speak at the November 27 rally.

Same-sex marriage rallies were also held in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Newcastle, Lismore, Darwin and Ballarat.

info: Visit www.sstar.net.au to view photos from rallies around the country.

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