Australians will be able to vote on same-sex marriage in a non-binding postal vote next month.
However, gay rights groups have challenged the decision saying that the Government should introduce same-sex marriage now, without an opinion poll, and arguing that the result would be less representative of the Australian population, which is largely in favour of same-sex marriage.
They said that millennials would be underrepresented as they are less familiar with traditional mail.
Penny Wong, the opposition leader in the Senate, who is a lesbian, said: “This is a vote because some in the coalition can never countenance equality and they’re never going to change their minds. They simply cannot countenance people like me and others being equal.”
Tony Abbot, the former Prime Minister, said: “I say to you: If you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote ‘no.’ If you worry about freedom of speech and freedom of religion, vote ‘no;’ and if you don’t like political correctness, vote ‘no’ because this is the best way to stop it in its tracks.”
If the results of the non-binding referendum are in favour of same-sex marriage, then Parliament will debate and vote on legislation in December.