Australia: High Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Survey Will Proceed

Australia’s highest court has ruled that the upcoming “postal survey” of Aussies asking whether same-sex marriage should be legalized will go on as planned.

From the New York Times:

The Australian government’s highly contentious proposal to put the question of same-sex marriage to a nationwide postal vote is legal and may proceed, the country’s High Court ruled unanimously on Thursday, eliminating the last hurdle before ballots are to be mailed out next week.

The survey — which is voluntary, unlike in-person elections in Australia — was challenged in two separate cases brought by advocates of same-sex marriage and members of Parliament. Run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the vote will be unique in Australian history: Nothing in the law requires it to take place before Parliament may act, and lawmakers are not bound by its results.

The ruling brings a little relief to the conservative government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The decision to conduct the survey has been deeply unpopular on both sides of the issue, birthing a national debate that has been, at times, tumultuous. Advocates of same-sex marriage have pushed for Parliament to vote on the issue directly. The postal vote will cost 122 million Australian dollars, or around $97 million.

Polls show overwhelming support for marriage equality ‘down under.’

Supporters of same-sex marriage say Parliament could vote to pass the measure without spending $122 million on the upcoming postal survey – which is non-binding on Parliament.

LGBTQ activists are urging everyone to make sure and vote.