Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Postal survey begins on same-sex marriage

Postal survey begins on same-sex marriage

The traditional marriage camp point to a short-lived online petition demanding that a Sydney doctor be deregistered for appearing in a television advertisement opposing same-sex marriage.

Though the postal ballot is non-binding, a "yes" vote is expected to lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage which could further fracture the government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Voters have until November 7 to cast a vote on the question, "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

After more than a decade of political wrangling, a national survey on whether gay marriage should be legalised got underway Tuesday with ballot papers mailed out. In a bid to resolve the issue, the conservative government moved to hold a postal ballot after its preferred option of a national referendum was twice rejected by the upper house.

But the success of the "yes" vote is not certain, with a poll conducted for a major same-sex marriage advocacy group and shared with Fairfax Media on Saturday showing that support for the change was falling.

The survey goes ahead after the High Court of Australia last week dismissed two objections to the poll.

Australian Christian Lobby material advocating a 'no' vote in the same-sex marriage postal vote
Australian Christian Lobby material advocating a'no vote in the same-sex marriage postal vote. Matthew Newton

The country's Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, said it was the law that had to change, not the gay community. "We can win this thing!" "We can climb this mountain".

He said: "Do we believe in equal care for all, equal rights for all?"

The campaign against changing the law has focused on issues beyond marriage itself, including gender education in schools and the "right" of children to have a mother and a father.

The streets were filled with rainbow-colored get-ups, along with thousands of signs with messages such as "Our Love Shouldn't Be a Debate", "Vote Yes!", and "Fear Should Not Decide the Future".

The postal vote will close on 7 November, with the result known later that month.

Mr Turnbull has urged Australians to vote Yes, telling reporters that "the right to marry is a conservative ideal as much as any other principle".

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