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Australia's Leaders Pushing Citizens to OK Same-Sex Marriage

08-08-2017
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Australians could soon be voting on whether to legalize gay marriage, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he'll be pushing for a "yes" vote.

And for the first time in Australian history, both the prime minister and opposition leader are backing same-sex marriage.

The government has announced a backup plan to allow citizens to vote on the matter after the country's ruling party refused to vote on a gay marriage bill. 

The move would allow Australians to decide if they want to legalize gay marriage but would cost the country $122 million, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 

That's because citizens would receive a ballot through the mail starting in September.

Supporters say it would give ordinary people a voice in a debate dominated by activists.

However, Liberal lawmakers have to first persuade the Australian Senate to endorse the plebiscite and they have to do it before Parliament considers voting on the legislation.

Federal Attorney General George Brandis, who is a supporter of same-sex marriage, said he hopes the country's Senate will support the bill.

"If the Senate blocks that course of action once again then we will go to a postal plebiscite because we are going to exhaust every option to ensure the Australian people have their say," he said.

If the Senate rejects the proposal for a plebiscite, the Liberal Party plans to propose a voluntary ballot which would not require the Senate's approval. 

Meanwhile, Brandis says he hopes same-sex marriage will be legal by December.

"My prediction, and it's only a prediction, is that in the plebiscite, which ever of the two forms it take, more people will vote yes than no," he said.
 

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