Up to 5,000 people joined a rally to call for full marriage equality in Dublin, Ireland, yesterday.

The rally was organised by equality group LGBT Noise, which are campaigning against government proposals to introduce civil partnerships.

“This is not just a gay rights issue – it is a human rights issue,” said march organiser Noelle Moran, speaking before Sunday’s event.

“The right to marry is enshrined in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but gay people in Ireland are currently denied that right.”

The march began at City Hall and ended at the Department of Justice where the crowds heard former Equality Authority director Niall Crowley call the move towards civil partnerships a “backlash” for equality.

He added that civil partnerships would do nothing for equality and that tolerance alone was not acceptable as it was frequently accompanied by contempt.

Other speakers at the rally included broadcaster Brendan Courtney, journalist Fiona McCann, former director of the International Lesbian and Gay Association Patricia Prendeville and march coordinator Mark McCarron.

Organisations in attendance included Amnesty International, the Union of Students in Ireland and a variety of LGBT groups.

A number of gay couples and their families also gave personal testimonies.

The proposed legislation, to be debated by the Irish parliament next month, will grant gay and lesbian couples legal recognition in areas such as pensions, social security, property rights, tax, succession and the payment of maintenance.

The government has ruled out gay marriage, claiming that it would require a change to the country’s constitution and a potentially divisive referendum.