Australians support same-sex marriage in survey, paving way for legislation

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More than 12million voters turned out with 61per cent in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

Government ministers instead backed the Smith bill, which legalises same-sex marriage while providing a moderate level of exemptions for religious organisations, and is backed by Labor, the Greens and others. If passed, this law would, for example, allow a baker to refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple, or students to "opt out of classes that conflict with their values", said Paterson.

Dear Lifehacker, there's been a lot of coverage about the voting and enrolment deadlines for the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. That would involve overriding existing discrimination laws and creating special dispensation for people who held the "relevant belief" that homosexual relationships are unholy or immoral.

Senator Smith on Tuesday gave notice he would introduce the bill to the Senate on Thursday, presuming the "yes" vote succeeds. A gay couple could be refused service at a hotel on their honeymoon, but not a regular stay.

If successful, the Prime Minister has said that parliament should resolve the issue before they break for Christmas.

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In a speech after the result Equality Campaign spokesman, Alex Greenwich, said: "Today love has had a landslide victory". It's about enshrining discrimination and taking Australia back decades, ' said Anna Brown of the Equality Campaign.

Speaking at a press conference minutes after the result he said: "We must respect the voice of the people".

"We do not want a dictatorship of the majority in this country". Australians believe in a fair go for all - this Bill goes completely against what people have voted for'.

After the successful marriage equality referendum in Ireland in May 2015, pressure grew on the Australian government to legislate but the Coalition party room agreed on a national plebiscite instead, although there was no legal requirement to do so.

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