Australian leaders plan vote on same-sex marriage

Labor's Penny Wong gave an emotional speech against the gay marriage plebiscite

Gay-rights advocates and many lawmakers want Parliament to legislate marriage equality now without an opinion poll, which they see as an unjustifiable hurdle to reform. "What I think will be no more important in this debate than the views of 16 million other Australians". Opponents say the result would be less representative of the Australian population and that young adults would be particularly underrepresented because they are less familiar with traditional mail.

The governing Liberal National coalition failed Wednesday morning to pass legislation to hold a compulsory national vote, or plebsicite, on same-sex marriage.

"Labor, Green (and) some of the independent senators, as well, (gave) no signs they'd changed their mind on it", John Warhurst, emeritus professor at Australian National University's School of Politics and International Relations, told CNN Monday.

Senator Seselja told Sky News on Thursday politicians should honour the results of the vote in Parliament. Equality advocates and supporters are opposed to a nationwide plebiscite, saying civil rights should not be subject to a popular vote.

"Is the Prime Minister aware that the 122 million Australian dollars he is wasting on his voluntary, non-binding postal plebiscite could instead fund over 1,800 aged care places or support over 2.7 million bulk-billed (doctor visits)?" While the bureau has authority to gather data from the population, there are questions about whether that power extends to opinions.

Marriage Equality co-chair Alex Greenwich said there would be "disappointment felt from coast to coast" tonight after the government's decision. I think some of the issues that have been raised about issues like religious freedom, we've seen in other parts of the world that when we do redefine marriage that religions, Christians and others, can find it hard.

Mr Wilkie said it was "great day" given the High Court had agreed that the full bench of the court would hear the matter.

Poll after poll shows a majority of Australians favor legalizing same sex marriage.

He also correctly implied that the constitution can only be amended by conducting a constitutional referendum.

It comes after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott called on Australians to vote "no" in the plebiscite.

Adding: "If you're anxious about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote "No", and if you don't like political correctness, vote "No" because voting "No" will help to stop political correctness in its tracks".

But advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality says a postal vote would be unconstitutional and has legal advice to confirm this, warning of a High Court challenge to prevent it going ahead.

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