The High Court has ruled that the government is able to legally conduct the postal survey on same sex marriage.
The Court dismissed two challenges which claimed that it was unconstitutional for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (‘ABS’) to carry out the survey.
Two groups brought the constitutional challenges. The first group included independent MP, Andrew Wilkie; Felicity Marlowe, a woman in a long-term same-sex partnership who also has three young children; and Shelley Argent from ‘Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays’. The second group comprised Greens senator, Janet Rice, and ‘Australian Marriage Equality’, a group specifically formed to advocate for same sex marriage.
The decision was handed down within minutes with Chief Justice, Susan Kiefel stating that the minister had acted legitimately by allowing a $122 million advance for the postal survey.
As a result of the Commonwealth’s success, from Tuesday 12 September 2017, the ABS will carry out the survey on whether to legalise same sex marriage in Australia.
There are 16 million Australians on the electoral roll who will be asked the one question: “Should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry?”
Voters will have until 7 November 2017 to participate in the plebiscite, and the final result should be known by 15 November 2017. Many are hopeful that this will end the legislated discrimination of same sex marriage under the Marriage Act and instead will lead to marriage equality in Australia.