Australia kicks off weeks-long same-sex marriage ballot

Up to 15 million Australians will be asked

A Christian school in Adelaide, Australia, has sent a letter to parents of its students encouraging them to vote "no" during the upcoming postal survey on the country's same-sex marriage law as supporters of the "yes" campaign rallied.

The statement, released on Thursday, is signed by at least 24 Liberal and National MPs and senators including cabinet ministers Simon Birmingham, Christopher Pyne, George Brandis, Kelly O'Dwyer, Darren Chester, Greg Hunt, Josh Frydenberg, Marise Payne, Scott Ryan, Nigel Scullion and Arthur Sinodinos.

Other Wallabies have reiterated their support for same-sex marriage on social media, including LGBTI advocate David Pocock, who has announced in the past he and his long-term partner Emma Palandri will not Wednesday until gay marriage is legalised in Australia.

He also lashed the federal Parliament for "shamefully" failing to deal with the issue. "We do so because we believe in individual rights and freedoms". He also spoke out against institutions that attempt to enforce their religious beliefs on people.

But with an emotionally charged campaign raising concerns about the welfare of vulnerable Australians, the government moved to strengthen laws preventing hate-speech.

"Extending this commitment to same-sex couples will promote greater social, emotional and economic stability, which can only strengthen our nation".

Senator Cormann said it was now "full steam ahead" on the government's election promise of giving the Australian people a say on same-sex marriage, even if via the second-best postal survey rather than a binding plebiscite.

Mr Rudd's godson reportedly stood up to the perpetrator and responded: "That's ok, I don't like you", before being attacked.

The country is holding a two-month poll on whether to amend its Marriage Act to include same-sex couples.

Australians will have a verdict on same-sex marriage by mid-November after the High Court threw out a legal challenge to the Turnbull government's postal survey and ruled it can proceed.

"One of the great things about Australia is that you can say what you feel and you can have respect given to you and pay respect to others", Cheika said. "But it provides limited protections", said Penny Wong, leader of the opposition in the senate.

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