Voting begins in Australia’s equal marriage postal ballot

Equal marriage activists in Australia (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Voting is underway on equal marriage in Australia, as the first ballots have been mailed out.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has opted to put the issue of same-sex marriage to the people in a contentious and controversial public vote.

The public vote is non-binding and advisory in nature, has no legal power – but the result will likely be taken into consideration by the country’s lawmakers.

The first-of-its-kind postal vote is now underway, with the first ballots mailed out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

Ballots will continue to be sent out to registered voters in the coming days and weeks.

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The ballot paper will read: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

Polling shows that the Yes campaign has a healthy lead in the vote.

The deadline for the return of ballots is November 7, giving a voting period of nearly two months.

The result of the ballot will be announced at the end of November.

However, the No campaign has cut down the lead by running a successful scaremongering campaign.

But  equality campaigners vowed to fight to win.

Tiernan Brady, Executive Director of The Equality Campaign, said: “We are in it to win it. We are committed to doing all in our power to ensure that the long held wish of the Australian people for marriage equality for all Australians is reflected in the results of the survey.

“This must be a campaign of millions of respectful conversations that unites the country. We haven’t a moment to lose and we are hitting the ground running with hundreds of thousands of supporters talking about why marriage equality matters.

“This is a vote about the worth, dignity and status of members of our family, friends, workmates and neighbours, and across the country people are standing up for them.

“Today the Campaign releases new TV and Radio advertisements calling supporters across the nation to get out and vote.

“We know that the Australian people support marriage equality but no one can be complacent – it is all about getting as many surveys returned as possible.

“We call on everyone to participate and to talk to their family and friends to make sure they do too. Together, lets get this done.”

The country’s anti-LGBT lobby has nonsensically taken to branding the same-sex marriage proposals ‘transgender marriage’, in a bid to adopt US-style ‘wedge issue’ tactics.

In a release this week, the Australian Family Association took the claims to a bizarre extreme – using their falsehoods to try and convince lesbians to vote against equal marriage.

On their newly-launched ‘Transgender Marriage’ website, the group asks: “What does transgender marriage mean for women and lesbians?”

They claim: “Two men identifying as women and in a relationship can be legally married and be recognised as being in a lesbian marriage for the purposes of accessing lesbian only organisations, events and lesbian exclusive spaces.

“Is this the sort of ‘equality’ Australians want to impose on women and lesbians?”