Australians overwhelmingly expressed support for marriage equality. Now what?

15 November, 2017, 01:22 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • The marriage debate is about nothing more or less than whether fellow human beings can be allowed equality says Bill Hoffman

VOTED overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage in a postal survey, it has been announced tonight.

Same-sex couples hoping to marry will find out if a change to the Marriage Act will be legislated this year when the results are announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 10am Wednesday.

It would be "a mockery of the process" if parliament delayed, obfuscated or used political games to delay an outcome on same-sex marriage.

Almost 80 per cent of eligible Australians took part in the voluntary poll, a return rate that compares more than favorably with the 91 per cent who voted at the compulsory 2016 federal election.

Australia has said yes to same-sex marriage.

Australians have voted in support of same-sex marriage, paving the way for parliament to legalize gay unions before the end of the year.

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Turnbull, same-sex marriage supporters in Australia's ruling Liberal-National party Coalition, the Labor opposition, Greens and other cross-bench parties have reached a consensus around a cross-party bill that makes minimalist changes to protect religious freedom without legalising discrimination by commercial service providers, such as cake makers, as some conservatives in the Coalition government have demanded. "One where everyone's treated with respect and dignity, where we believe in a society built on commitment and responsibility", he told Sky News.

If it is a yes from the public, then PM Malcolm Turnbull has said a private member's bill will be debated in Parliament, with the PM pushing for a vote before Christmas.

We're less than an hour out from learning the result of the same-sex marriage survey and campaign events are getting under way.

Labor Senator Penny Wong, who has co-signed Senator Smith's bill, said Senator Paterson's proposal was a "distraction".

However, the vote itself is only indicative - meaning politicians are free to come to whatever conclusions they like, whether that accounts for the vote or not. Most know that having given the public a say, that verdict must now be reflected in law.

A private bill, proposed by West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith, has been labelled the "starting point" by senior government ministers.

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