Marriage equality campaigners are renewing calls for all political parties to allow state and federal MPs a conscience vote on same-sex marriage ahead of mass demonstrations across the country this weekend.

Melbourne Equal Love convenor Ali Hogg said there were still many MPs being denied the right to vote for what they believed was right and urged people to attend this weekend’s rallies to place pressure on federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

“We really want to put an emphasis on the politicians to vote regardless of their party lines,” Hogg said.

“There are several people in the Liberal party who support marriage equality but their positions fall on deaf ears and they are being forced to vote against it.”

Hogg said it is a critical time in the fight for equal rights and urged people not to become complacent as ground could still be lost.

Last month, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen came out against gay marriage, saying his position had been determined by the lack of face-to-face representations made to him by people in favour of changing the Marriage Act.

Hogg said the news last week that Tasmania was likely to legalise gay marriage was an encouraging step forward.

“I think it’s pretty exciting but it’s only one step and I think it should be ultimately a federal law,” she said.

“It shows we can make some steps towards equality and I hope it does put some pressure on the government federally.

“It also shows the government the sky won’t fall down.”

Rallies will be held nationwide from 1pm this Saturday, August 11 in all the state capitals as well as Canberra and Newcastle.

INFO: www.australianmarriageequality.com

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