Aus­tralia says ‘I do’ to gay mar­riage?

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - — The As­so­ci­ated Press — The As­so­ci­ated Press

CAN­BERRA, Aus­tralia — Aus­tralia’s prime min­is­ter said Tues­day that Par­lia­ment could le­gal­ize gay mar­riage this year if the na­tion’s vot­ers en­dorse it in a rare non­bind­ing poll in Novem­ber.

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

The con­ser­va­tive Lib­eral Party-led coali­tion was nar­rowly re-elected in July 2016 with a prom­ise to let vot­ers de­cide whether Aus­tralia should rec­og­nize same-sex mar­riage through a pop­u­lar vote. But the Se­nate in Novem­ber blocked the plebiscite, which would cost $135 mil­lion and pro­mote a di­vi­sive pub­lic de­bate.

The gov­ern­ment on Tues­day en­dorsed the party de­ci­sion to ask the Se­nate to re­con­sider al­low­ing the plebiscite, which would be held Nov. 25. Vot­ing would be com­pul­sory.

If most Aus­tralians want gay mar­riage, the Par­lia­ment would vote on leg­is­la­tion be­fore Par­lia­ment ends Dec. 7.

Gay-rights ad­vo­cates say enough law­mak­ers al­ready back mar­riage equal­ity to make same-sex mar­riage le­gal in Aus­tralia now. For the first time in Aus­tralian his­tory, both the prime min­is­ter and op­po­si­tion leader back the re­form.

TURN­BULL Vote ‘yes’

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