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Australian Senate returns hopeful to pass same-sex marriage bill to House

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The Senate in Australia returns this week and hopes are high that it will pass a same-sex marriage bill for when the House sits next week.

Following a Yes vote in a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, it is expected that a bill to legalise same-sex marriage will be passed by the end of the year.

The Senate returns on Monday when the debate will resume on a bill introduced by Liberal Dean Smith.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: People in the crowd celebrate as the result is announced during the Official Melbourne Postal Survey Result Announcement at the State Library of Victoria on November 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. Australians have voted for marriage laws to be changed to allow same-sex marriage, with the Yes vote defeating No. Despite the Yes victory, the outcome of Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is not binding, and the process to change current laws will move to the Australian Parliament in Canberra. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)


Senators from other parties such as Labor’s Anthony Chisholm, have said they hope the bill will be passed this week.

“The Australian people gave a really strong endorsement of marriage equality,” Chisholm told Sky News.

“The way people are viewing politics at the moment it would be very dangerous if the Senate did delay.”

It is expected that the legislation will be taken up in the lower house next week.

Some fear that amendments may be used to try and sabotage the bill.

A gay couple in Australia were sent a number of threatening notes in response to the Yes vote for same-sex marriage.

With $22 million left from the budget of the Australian same-sex marriage vote, campaigners have said the money should go to support those hurt by campaigns against it.

It was announced earlier this month that Australia had voted Yes in a historic nationwide survey on same-sex marriage.

Almost 13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot – a bigger turnout than in even the UK’s EU referendum.

The historic vote follows in the footsteps of Ireland by endorsing same-sex marriage in a national vote.

Australia now looks likely to become the 25th country in the world to introduce marriage for same-sex couples.

But on announcing the result of the plebiscite Australia’s chief statistician David W Kalisch, said the vote came in under budget.

Campaigners have now called for the $22 million left over from the budget to be used to support those possibly hurt by the No campaign in the LGBT community.

Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natalie said: “It’s time that the government acknowledges the harmful effects of the ‘no’ campaign on the LGBTIQ community.

“I urge you to immediately redirect these funds in support services for the LGBTIQ community, particularly for young people, to respond to the issues being experienced as a direct result of the government’s decision to undertake the postal survey.”

Mental health groups also reported having to redirect resources during the three-month campaign, to address a spike in calls from members of the community.

ReachOut Australia, which led a group of mental health services in campaigning for a Yes vote, said it had seen a 40 percent increase in calls from gay and bisexual people during the campaign.

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