Australians to vote on legalising gay marriage in controversial ballot

Australians to vote on legalising gay marriage in controversial ballot

The Australian Christian Lobby has started their letterbox drop around Toowoomba urging locals to vote "NO" in the Same Sex Marriage survey.

"I encourage everyone to fill in the survey and return it".

The postal survey will cost the country $97 million to conduct.

Although the poll - if the majority of people vote in favor - will not have the power to change the law, it could initiate a vote to do so in parliament.

The campaign against changing the law has focused on issues beyond marriage itself, including gender education in schools and the "right" of children to have a mother and a father.

The paper ballot, to be returned by mail, is a simple one, with the question asked and two boxes available for one decision.

The ABS will close receipt of forms at 6pm on November 7 and announce the result at 11.30am on November 15. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN TEENAGER WITH TWO MOTHERS, EDDIE BLEWETT, SAYING: "People are saying stuff about my family, they're saying that they're not normal, second rate".

The non-compulsory ballot, which runs until the end of October, will determine whether Australia becomes the 25th country to legalize same-sex marriage, while also healing a rift in the government.

The survey has shed light on how rare national non-binding plebiscites are in Australia. The bureau was given the task by Canberra to avoid the need for parliamentary approval, but that meant the marriage poll did not attract advertising protections against malicious campaign material in force during elections - a key concern for activists fearing it could unleash a barrage of homophobia.

Some 1400 voters were surveyed between Wednesday and Saturday last week for the poll.

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