Aus­tralians to soon post bal­lots in gay mar­riage sur­vey

The Myanmar Times - - World -

AUS­TRALIANS be­gin re­ceiv­ing their postal bal­lots on le­gal­iz­ing gay mar­riage from Tues­day as a new opin­ion poll showed that most of those who in­tend to vote are in fa­vor of mar­riage equal­ity.

More than 16 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers among Aus­tralia’s pop­u­la­tion of 24 mil­lion will re­ceive bal­lots in the com­ing days re­quest­ing their opin­ion on whether same-sex cou­ples should be al­lowed to wed.

An Ip­sos poll pub­lished in Fair­fax Me­dia news­pa­pers on Tues­day found 65 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they were cer­tain to take part in the sur­vey.

Of those cer­tain to post their bal­lot pa­pers back, 70 per­cent said they would sup­port gay mar­riage.

If the postal sur­vey finds most Aus­tralians want gay mar­riage, the Par­lia­ment will vote by De­cem­ber on leg­is­la­tion to lift the pro­hi­bi­tion on gay mar­riage. But sev­eral law­mak­ers have said they would vote against gay mar­riage re­gard­less of pub­lic opin­ion.

The Ip­sos poll was based on a sur­vey of 1,400 vot­ers be­tween Wed­nes­day and Satur­day last week. It had a 2.6 per­cent­age point mar­gin of er­ror.

The re­sult was con­sis­tent with pre­vi­ous polls in re­cent years which have shown around two-thirds of Aus­tralians sup­port gay mar­riage.

But a sim­i­lar pro­por­tion also wants le­gal pro­tec­tions for churches’ rights to refuse to marry same-sex cou­ples and to teach that mar­riage should be be­tween a man and woman.

Crit­ics of the govern­ment’s ap­proach have ar­gued that the pub­lic should see how th­ese rights would be pro­tected in pro­posed leg­is­la­tion be­fore they de­cide whether gay mar­riage should go ahead.

But the govern­ment re­fuses to re­lease a draft bill un­til af­ter the sur­vey de­cides whether the Par­lia­ment will con­sider any bill.

Con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull and cen­ter-left La­bor Party op­po­si­tion leader Bill Shorten are both cam­paign­ing for law re­form.

But two past con­ser­va­tive prime min­is­ters, Tony Ab­bott, who re­mains a govern­ment law­maker, and John Howard, both op­pose the change.

Photo: AP

A sam­ple of the postal bal­lot on le­gal­iz­ing gay mar­riage is shown in Syd­ney, Tues­day, Septem­ber 12, 2017

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