Australia parade calls for gay marriage

SYDNEY, March 6 (UPI) -- Wedding dresses were prominent among elaborate drag outfits as Sydney's gay Mardi Gras Parade highlighted the fight for gay marriage rights.

The theme of the huge annual event this year was "Say Something," the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported, and 15 of the 130 floats Saturday night addressed same-sex marriage.


The honorary marshals included American actress Lily Tomlin, British gay activist Peter Tatchell and two Melbourne teenagers who protested their school prom's ban on gay couples.

Police said the crowd was overwhelmingly well-behaved and peaceful, although 18 people were arrested for mostly minor offenses.

Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke told Sky News Australia alcohol-free zones were strongly enforced.

New South Wales Labor Minister Verity Firth said, "Mardi Gras has been an unmistakable part of Sydney life."

"We must never forget that the first Mardi Gras in 1978 was about the struggle for equality, and this aspect remains absolutely a part of the parade today," she said.

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