Australian High Court approves gay marriage vote
September 7, 2017 1 comment
The High Court of Australia has ruled in favour of the government’s proposed gay marriage vote.
LGBT activists had submitted two separate challenges to the postal vote, claiming it was invalid as a result of its funding. The cases were heard over two days and both were unanimously dismissed by the High Court this week. Not only were the challenges rejected, the people and organisations who launched them were ordered to pay costs.
Following the decision, Attorney General George Brandis and Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann announced that Australia’s Bureau of Statistics will begin sending out the surveys next Tuesday. The question will read:
“Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
Citizens will have until 27 October to vote and then the result will be announced on November 15, Brandis and Cormann said.
If Australians vote in favour of legalising gay marriage, Parliament is under no obligation to change the law as the survey is non-binding. However, a majority ‘yes’ vote could push MPs to finally allow same sex couples to marry.
Unlike federal elections, voting in this survey will not be mandatory, although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he would “encourage every Australian to have their say” on this issue. He claimed that he would be voting ‘yes’ and would be trying to convince others to do likewise.
Meanwhile, Labor Party MP and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten simply tweeted:
Alright, let’s win this.#marriageequality
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) 7 September 2017
Polls indicate that Australia will vote in support of marriage equality and Brandis has predicted the law will have changed “by Christmas”. However, BBC News Sydney correspondent Hywel Griffith warned that “as Britain’s Brexit vote showed, it’s wise not to try to second-guess the public”.
Photo by Nimal Skandhakumar via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
September 7, 2017
Categories: Gay Marriage