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Australia plans gay marriage vote

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While Wong took aim at the process of the proposed plebiscite, calling it a "vote to vote on same sex marriage", others are taking issue with the fact it will be a voluntary postal vote.

If the Senate blocks the plebiscite again, Turnbull is ready to hold a mail-in vote.

A joint study by Harvard University and John Hopkins University found that American states where same-sex marriage became legal were linked to a reduced risk in youth suicide attempts.

"He should stand up for people who don't have a voice".

The Australian Greens has not yet clarified whether or not it will boycott the plebiscite. "It is an absolute waste of time and money".

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has announced a High Court challenge to the vote, questioning whether the government is exceeding its executive authority by ordering the postal referendum.

"And I feel as a citizen I'm being treated in a second-class way".

Marriage equality was based on a broad ideal of equality in an Australia that included everyone, but at present gay and lesbian Australians were excluded.

The Australian government said ballots could be sent out by 12 September.

"It's just a complete political improvisation and it's completely unacceptable and it should stop".

When asked whether the same-sex marriage vote could negatively affect the LGBTQ population, Headspace CEO Jason Trethowan offered a blunt assessment: "Yes".

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On ABC's AM, Twomey also questioned the method of appropriating funds, noting that a finance minister's advance "has to be for some kind of emergency that's unforeseen [and] here we have an issue that has been foreseen and previously there had been allocations for it in the budget".

"This is simply about whether every loving relationship should be treated equally before the law".

If that fails, the government believes it will be able to hold a voluntary, non-binding postal plebiscite before the end of the year on the issue.

Mr Abbott opposed the postal plebiscite in the party rom, saying its should be a national compulsory vote or nothing.

"Democracy is something that is a gift".

"There is only one reason why this failure to deal with marriage equality has dragged on as long as it has - it is because of the complete failure of leadership and weakness of the prime minister", opposition leader Bill Shorten said.

In a powerful speech in the Senate, Senator Wong urged the Turnbull government to forgo an expensive and divisive public vote.

"My experience... is that most Australians are far more generous spirited, have a lot more honour than numerous people who are arguing this in the parliament from the other side", Wong told Sky News. "I know what a hard debate is like".

"It's a pretty low way to approach this debate".

The traditional plebiscite would cost up to $170 million.

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