This weekend, over 30,000 people turned out for the largest LGBTQ demonstration in Australian history, after the country's High Court ruled in favor of a nationwide postal vote on same-sex marriage. In addition to the tens of thousands of humans who took part in the rallies, progressive doggos took to the street as well, because even those who walk on four legs and poop outside know that marriage equality is a no-brainer.
The rallies in Sydney and Brisbane took place three days after the High Court allowed the federal government to spend $97 million on a postal vote, which will ask the question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?" The Australian Bureau of Statistics has already begun to send out the first 600,000 forms, and plans to mail out surveys to over 16 million Australians between now and September 25th. Surveys are due on or before November 7th, and results will be announced November 15th.
Although the postal vote represents a step forward for marriage equality in Australia, it is a small step right now — the survey is non-binding and non-compulsory, meaning citizens are not required to fill it out, and lawmakers are not required to do anything after the results are announced.
Australians on both sides of the debate have expressed frustration with both the cost and toothlessness of the survey. In the past, many supporters of same-sex marriage have pushed for a direct vote in Parliament rather than a popular vote, which they see as an unnecessary delay, and because they are unsure of how representative of Australian attitudes the results of the survey would be.
Anna Brown, the director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Center, called the postal vote "completely unnecessary," and said, “It’s costly, divisive and already causing harm to our community. The rights of any group of Australians being subject to a public vote sends a terrible message to our community.”
Researchers have also suggested that telephone polling would give a more accurate result, and at an estimated cost of one million Australian dollars, would be significantly cheaper than the postal vote.
Still, despite the controversy surrounding the survey, thousands of LGBTQ supporters, four-legged and otherwise, turned out to urge their fellow Australians to vote "Yes," on the survey. Conservative prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who previously called for a compulsory nationwide vote on the matter, voiced his support for the YES campaign, pointing out that 23 countries have already legalized same-sex marriage.
"In any one of those nations, has the sky fallen in?" he asked, "Has life as we know it come to a halt? Has traditional marriage as we know it been undermined? The answer is no."
Turnbull also added: "I am utterly unpersuaded by the proposition that my marriage to Lucy, 38 years long next March, or indeed any marriage, is undermined by two gay men or two gay women setting up house down the road, whether it is called a marriage or not."
Although the results of the postal vote are non-binding, if a majority of Australians vote to change the law, the force of popular opinion could push Parliament to hold a vote on the matter.
Even though results won't be announced until mid-November, the turnout at the LGBTQ rallies on Sunday indicate that Australians are ready for a change.
"We've got one last mountain to climb before we make marriage equality a reality. Let's climb it together, today," said Bill Shorten, head of the Australian Labor Party.
Here are a few of the most adorable rainbow pups who were out there climbing the mountain to marriage equality at this weekend's demonstrations.