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Australia’s vote for same-sex marriage can proceed – Court

Australia’s vote for same-sex marriage can proceed – Court

A vote on legalising same-sex marriage in Australia will proceed after a court dismissed two legal challenges.

The non-binding survey to gauge support for changing Australia’s Marriage Act is due to begin next week.

The High Court of Australia dismissed separate objections by same-sex marriage advocates, who had argued the postal vote was invalid.

The survey does not have the power to make same-sex marriage legal, but it could lead to a vote in parliament.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the law could change this year if the vote shows majority support.

“We encourage every Australian to vote in this survey, to have their say,” he said on Thursday.

Australians will have from Tuesday until 27 October to cast their vote. The results are expected to be announced on 15 November.

Both Yes and No campaign teams will now turn up the volume in a debate that has already become heated.

The opinion polls suggest a Yes vote will prevail.

The Attorney-General, George Brandis, has confidently predicted that same-sex marriage will be legal “by Christmas”, but I expect a few more twists and turns along the way.

Those challenging the survey had argued the vote was invalid because it was not approved through parliament. They also claimed that the Australian Bureau of Statistics did not have the authority to oversee the process.

The arguments were unanimously dismissed by the court, which will release its reasoning later this week.

A lobby group behind one challenge said it would now devote its efforts to campaigning.

“Now we get out there, and we campaign long and hard for a Yes vote that we hope will reflect the will of the country,” said Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Alex Greenwich.

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