Emerging story: Court in Australia rules non-binding gay marriage vote to go ahead

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Key takeaways

  • On September 12 a postal survey will be sent to Australians with the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” after a High Court ruling on September 7.
  • Forms have to be returned by November 7 and the final result will be revealed on November 15.
  • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull supports the right of same-sex couples to marry and will be encouraging Australians to vote yes.
  • The Government can spend up to $122 million on the vote.
  • The vote is non-binding, which means if Australians vote “yes” in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry, this won’t necessarily mean the law will change. If Australians vote “yes” a parliamentary vote will be held to determine whether the law will pass.
  • Some Australian activists in favour of same-sex marriage – like Anna Brown, Director of the Human Rights law center – campaigned against the High Court hearing because they think it’s completely unnecessary: Parliament can legalize same-sex marriage at any time. But these activists are now campaigning in support of a yes vote.
  • The postal survey is voluntary. This is unlike the electoral vote in Australia which is mandatory.



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