Australians to vote on same-sex marriage

A nationwide postal vote is to be held in Australia to hear whether citizens support the redefinition of marriage, in a vote described as a “referendum on freedom of speech”.

Currently Australia defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, but campaigners have been arguing for a redefinition.

Politicians have now agreed to a postal vote on the issue, with the results revealed later this year.

‘Redefining gender next’

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) warned that redefining marriage is the precursor to “redefining gender” and could threaten religious freedom.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said those concerned about freedom and what is taught to children in schools should vote “no”.

The poll is not compulsory and will not be binding on Parliament.

Court challenge

Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s Prime Minister, said he would not put forward legislation on same-sex marriage unless it received support in the country.

Mr Turnbull, who supports the change, said: “We’re committed to every Australian having their say”.

Some supporters of redefining marriage are opposing the postal ballot, and it is being challenged in court.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is set to carry out the ballot and has said it will announce the results by 15 November.

Previous rejection

Earlier this year, the British High Commissioner to Australia was forced to deny that a redefinition is being subtly pushed on citizens.

It came after the ACL criticised the UK Government for registering same-sex unions in consulates around Australia under British law.

In 2012, the Parliament of Australia overwhelmingly rejected attempts to introduce same-sex marriage.

Conscience

MPs voted against redefining marriage by 98 votes to 42 and a similar measure was defeated in the Australian senate by 41 votes to 26.

Then Prime Minister Julia Gillard was personally opposed to redefining marriage but she allowed her Labor party members to vote according to their conscience.

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