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Australia's same-sex marriage mail-in survey faces high court challenge

Australia's same-sex marriage mail-in survey faces high court challenge
From CBC - August 13, 2017

Australia is preparing to ask citizens whether the country should legalize same-sex marriage, but there are deep divisions within the country and a legal hurdle.

The Australian government's attempts to call a referendum on the issue failed in the Senate, so it has opted for a plebiscite, in the form of a mail-in ballot.

The government is not calling it a vote or referendum, because it's non-binding, and instead is calling it a survey.

Gay-rights advocates and many legislators are opposed to the idea of a plebiscite, saying it will only fuel a vitriolic and homophobic campaign.

Critics say parliament should vote on the matter without an opinion poll, which they see as an unjustifiable hurdle to reform.

Lawyers for independent legislator Andrew Wilkie and marriage equality advocates Shelley Argent and Felicity Marlowe, applied to the High Court for an injunction last week to prevent the postal plebiscite from going ahead on constitutional grounds.

"We will be arguing that by going ahead without the authorization of parliament, the government is acting beyond its power," lawyer Jonathon Hunyor said.

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