How a terrorist attack inspired this politician to fight for equal marriage

Marsha Scott
August 9, 2017

AUSTRALIANS will be asked to take part in a voluntary postal vote on gay marriage in October under a Turnbull Government plan to get the issue off the agenda by the end of the year.

Turnbull said the government would not seek a change in same-sex marriage legislation if a majority of Australians vote against it.

Advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality has legal advice it says confirms a postal vote would be unconstitutional and warned of a potential High Court challenge.

Queensland Liberal MP Warren Entsch, who was among those pushing for a free vote, said the commitment to bring back the plebiscite this week was fantastic.

If the Senate rejects the proposal for a plebiscite, the Liberal Party plans to propose a voluntary ballot which would not require the Senate's approval.

An Essential poll released last month found that 63 percent of Australians support same-sex marriage with just 25 percent against it.

"We do not accept, and will never accept, the demeaning terms and conditions the government has attached to marriage equality".

"The Bill not only circumvents the government pledge for a plebiscite on the issue, it is manifestly deficient in its attempt to protect civil and religious freedoms for all Australians", he said.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned against the postal vote. These costs included damaging the parties by providing fuel to an already tense debate among liberals and conservatives, and costing the equivalent of $135 million United States dollars to hold a vote, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"We've said all along that the best, cheapest and fastest way of resolving this is a vote in the Parliament", she told Sky News.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he expected the public would support marriage equality in the so-called plebiscite, and that he would personally campaign for a "yes" vote.

Australia's ruling party on Monday rejected a push to allow lawmakers to decide whether the country should recognize gay marriage, continuing a bitter political stalemate over the divisive reform.

The cost will be hefty - up to A$122 million.

That measure would make same-sex marriage legal by a national vote, while allowing religious leaders to refuse performing the rites to whoever they wish.

"Strong leaders carry out their promises, weak leaders break them", Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Bernardi has said he would vote against gay marriage, regardless of a plebiscite result.

If the Senate again blocks the plebiscite, the government intends to hold a voluntary postal plebiscite by November 15.

Specifically, he suggested the government could compromise by ditching the $15m of public funds for each of the yes and no case in the plebiscite "because there's been so much debate it may not be needed", and even consider "what the bill would look like".

If it came back in the affirmative a private member's bill would then be introduced into parliament.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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