Australia mails out same-sex marriage ballots

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Sept. 12, 2017 at 8:44 AM
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Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Australia began mailing ballots for a non-binding vote on support for legalizing same-sex marriage, its Bureau of Statistics announced Tuesday.

Voters have until Nov. 7 to cast a vote on the question, "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?" The vote is non-binding and voluntary -- voting in Australian elections is compulsory -- and some same-sex marriage advocates have called it an unnecessary delay in resolving the debate, which could be settled quickly in parliament, the BBC reported Tuesday.

The paper ballot, to be returned by mail, is a simple one, with the question asked and two boxes available for one decision. Results will be announced on Nov. 15.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull supports the Yes campaign, and a poll revealed Tuesday indicated that 70 percent of respondents intend to vote in favor of changing the law. Turnbull added that the Marriage Act could be amended by the end of the year if support for a change is seen in the survey.

The postal survey will cost the country $97 million to conduct. Some Australians object to the price tag, while others fear that hate-filled rhetoric will mar the campaigns.

Thousands of Australians favoring the change, many dressed in rainbow colors, rallied across the country on Sunday.

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