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Australia votes 'yes' to same-sex marriage
15 November 2017, 01:24 | Myrtle Vega
The Senate could begin debating changes to the Marriage Act as early as this week if the'Yes vote comes out on top
The results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey were announced on Wednesday morning by the head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics David Kalisch, ending a divisive four-month campaign.
Various opinion polls point to a majority "yes" vote, possibly as high as 60 per cent.
Gay couples will not be able to marry until Parliament passes legislation to enact the reform, but the government expects this will happen before Christmas.
"That's the goal", the prime minister said before leaving Manila.
Arguing that a conservative attempt to override State anti-discrimination laws would have "virtually no prospect of getting through the Parliament", Mr Turnbull said the public skirmish over new same-sex marriage laws was a normal part of a free vote.
Nevertheless, discussions are well under underway as to how same-sex marriage might be legislated.
On Tuesday, a group of cross-party senators backed a same-sex marriage bill penned by Liberal Senator Dean Smith.
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A second private bill, containing more protections for religious protections and conscientious objection, is being pushed by conservative coalition MPs, many of whom campaigned for a "no" vote.
Liberal MP and same-sex marriage supporter Trent Zimmerman described the second bill as freaky. "One where everyone's treated with respect and dignity, where we believe in a society built on commitment and responsibility", he told Sky News.
Government conservatives led by Victorian senator James Paterson, who supports same-sex marriage, have called for increased protections for speech and religious freedom. In an interview in October, Turnbull said that the bill could be dealt with before Christmas.
"Just as importantly from the government's perspective, it's important we finalise this issue so 2018 is a year where we can focus on other things on our agenda".
Liberal senators Linda Reynolds and Jane Hume, Labor's Penny Wong and Louise Pratt, the Greens' Richard Di Natale and Janet Rice, Skye Kakoschke-Moore from the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch all signed the motion with Smith.
"I don't agree with the prime minister that this bill makes activities which are now legal, illegal", Canavan told RN Breakfast.
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