Over 2 000 demonstrators marched on the Labour Party’s national policy-making conference in Sydney to protest Australia’s ban on gay marriage. Many were wearing bridal veils and performing mock wedding ceremonies. Similar rallies and mock weddings were held in the southern capital of Melbourne and the Queensland city of Brisbane.

This comes after the 400 delegates attending the conference earlier rejected changes to the party’s anti-gay marriage policy, despite declaring strong opposition to discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd previously told ABC news that while he welcomes debate on gay marriage, he will not support it. “We are consistent with the policy that we took to the last election.” He added that his party “fully respects the integrity of same-sex relationships”.

Gay marriage remains illegal in Australia, but the states of Tasmania and Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory all allow a form of civil union, which gives gay couples similar rights to married couples.

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