Thousands march for marriage equality

THOUSANDS of gay rights activists marched through the nation's capital cities on the weekend in support of marriage equality.

The rallies, led by the Australian Marriage Equality movement, were aimed at encouraging politicians to support a senate recommendation for a conscience vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

A motion calling for the vote was narrowly defeated before Federal Parliament adjourned for its winter break.

On Sunday, Sydney MP Clover Moore urged Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to support a conscience vote.

South Australian Premier Jay Wargerill and Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings have both announced they will legislate same sex marriage on a state level regardless of the outcome in Canberra.

A Galaxy poll commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality revealed last week 64% of Australians believed same sex couples should be allowed to marry.

AME convenor Alex Greenwich said the fact that support for marriage equality in Australia had risen to its highest point showed an increasing number of families believed that "marriage quality will strengthen relationships (and) families).