Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated that he expects a plebiscite on same-sex marriage to take place before the end of this year.
In what is seen as his strongest commitment yet on the timing of the vote, Turnbull said “we will hold it as soon as possible after the [general] election. Given that the election is on 2 July, we do have ample time between then and the end of the year. So I would expect it to be held this calendar year.”
'Malcolm Turnbull expects marriage equality plebiscite by year's end.' An expensive and wholly unnecessary policy. https://t.co/MrxhGa5kJr
— Human Rights Law Centre (@humanrightsHRLC) May 30, 2016
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Turnbull added:
“But it will be held as soon as practical, as obviously legislation has got to pass through the Parliament so all I can do is give you my commitment to hold a plebiscite as soon as we can and it will be a very straightforward question and we will be asking the Australian people whether they support the definition of marriage being extended to include couples of the same sex.”
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Turnbull’s comments are a u-turn from reports earlier this year that he failed to endorse a statement made by Attorney General George Brandis that the plebiscite will be held this year.
Last week, Daniel Andres, the Premier of Victoria, Australia apologized for laws which convicted thousands of gay men of buggery, gross indecency and loitering for homosexual purposes before homosexuality was decriminalized in 1980. Turnbull has come in for much criticism for the decision to not allow lawmakers a free vote on the issue, thereby costing the taxpayer an estimated AUS$500 million ($380 million) – or AUS$6 ($4.50) per vote – to hold the plebiscite.
Watch Australian Marriage Equality‘s “What’s It All About” video below.
(Image via AustralianMarriageEquality.org)