Australia says ‘I do’ to gay marriage?
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’