Millions of Australians vote on same-sex marriage ahead of deadline

By Polly Robinson

AN ESTIMATED 10.8 million people have already voted in Australia’s postal survey on same-sex marriage, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics.

Around 16 million forms were sent out on September 12 and have produced a high response rate with 67.5 per cent of eligible forms already being returned three weeks before the deadline.

The vote, which has also been made open to Australians travelling or living overseas, is due to close on November 7.

However, the same-sex marriage vote has been a controversial topic for many Australians, arguably with Australia’s Anglican Church at the forefront of the debate.

Reverend Dr Mark Durie, vicar of Oaktree Angelican Church, Melbourne, opposes the marriage vote.

He said: “Marriage is not a human right, it exists for a purpose, and that purpose is all about people raising their own biological children to adulthood.

“Children have the best outcomes when they are raised by their own married biological parents.”

The Anglican Church has strongly influenced the vote after it was revealed Sydney’s Anglican diocese had donated $1 million to the ‘no’ campaign at the beginning of October.

Nevertheless, many same-sex couples remain positive towards the ‘yes’ campaign and continue to support the movement towards equal rights.

Brisbane resident, Murray Williams, 22, became engaged to his boyfriend in January 2016. He said: “We’re real people in a strong, loving relationship that isn’t recognised as equal in law and in society.”

Mr Williams and his fiancé are hoping to formally marry if Australia votes yes to same-sex marriage.

“In today’s society, we should not have to rely on a vote to decide the happiness and future of others, this choice will fundamentally decide the future for generations to come, so I would urge everyone to please consider how this vote will affect others,” he said.

If Australia votes yes to allow same-sex couples to marry, it will be the 24th country to allow same-sex marriage.

Survey results for the marriage law will be published on November 15.

Australians who have not yet received their voting form should contact 1800 572 113 before October 20 or visit https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/ for more information.

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