Australia & Same-Sex Marriage

Australia’s history of equal marriage is somewhat rocky, and we’re soon to reach a pinnacle moment.

Marriage equality has been hotly debated, especially in recent years. A major turning point was the US’ decision to unanimously offer same-sex marriages to couples in all 50 states, but that still hasn’t changed many countries positions on the issue:

1

The key is available in the footnote, but in general, the deep blue colour is where same sex marriage is legalised.

How The Vote Came to be

The then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott held a six-hour emergency meeting in August 2015. The policy was quite vague then, wether it would be a plebiscite, referendum or survey. Turnball, Australia’s current Prime Minister had previously voted against it, but adopted the policy in September 2015 when he became leader. After a lot of arguing and debates, the idea of having a legally binding plebiscite was scrapped in place of a simple ‘postal survey’ where the government are simply asking all citizens how they feel on the issue.

The Vote

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

The question is fairly simple. As with most votes there is a yes and no campaign running in mainstream media, each with political parties and celebrities backing them. Legally, this is only a survey because it is run by the ‘Australian Bureau of Statistics’ and not by the AEC (Australian Electoral Commission).

This means the postal survey is not legally binding. A yes vote win will allow MPs to vote on a same-sex marriage bill, and if a no vote wins, they won’t be allowed to vote on it.

What next?

Survey forms will be sent out on September 12th, with the latest return date being November 7th. The result will be announced on November 15th, with the vote, if any, will be expected shortly after.

You can be sure there will be a high level of media coverage.

More information

Same-sex marriage in Australia in general: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Australia
The referendum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Marriage_Law_Postal_Survey
Buzzfeed has many answers: https://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/email-me-your-questions-please?utmterm=.inJNqnar2
Main yes campaign: http://www.equalitycampaign.org.au/home
Main no campaign: https://www.coalitionformarriage.com.au/

Personal Response

This is an ‘issue’ that shouldn’t be an issue. Many people have somewhat reasonable reasons for not support same-sex marriage, but in almost all cases, these people have never been in the shoes of a gay person and have never witnessed what the campaigning against their love is doing to them. That said, I am intrigued to see the survey response, as I say about many foreign nations, every country is different and so their citizens are different. We may see a different response to that we would expect from a British parliament.

  1. Used with permission from https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_marriage-equality_laws.svg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Kwamikagami ↩︎
 

Aidan