High Court Decision: Same-Sex Marriage Postal Vote Will Go Ahead

High Court Decision: Same-Sex Marriage Postal Vote Will Go Ahead
Image: iStock

Over the last two days, the High Court of Australia has been hearing arguments for and against the legality of the upcoming same-sex marriage postal survey. Today, they have ruled that the postal survey will go ahead. We have all the details here.

We originally reported on the High Court challenges against the same-sex marriage postal survey here, discussing the legal arguments that were being brought forward in an effort to stop the survey from taking place in the first place.

In brief: Two marriage equality groups brought forward their cases to the High Court of Australia. The first, case M105, was led by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and Felicity Marlowe and the second, case M106, was brought forward by Senator Janet Rice and the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality.

Both of these advocacy groups were arguing that the postal survey was unlawful on several grounds – that the Government could not appropriate the funds to conduct the survey, that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) could not legally conduct the survey and that the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) was unable to hand over voter information to the ABS. These arguments were heard on September 5

The Government, the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, the Treasurer, the Australian Statistician and the Australian Electoral Commissioner, who were the defendants in these two cases, argued to the full bench of the High Court on September 6 that the postal survey is legal, that they had the ability to appropriate the $122 million that it will cost and that the activities of the ABS and the AEC are perfectly legal.

At 2:15pm AEST, September 7, the High Court ruled in favour of the defendants. There are no more avenues for appeal and thus, the same-sex marriage survey will go ahead.

The ‘Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey’, as it is officially known, will begin on September 12 with ballots being posted out to mailboxes from that date onward.

If you want to know more about the postal survey, then you can check out our explainer below.

” excerpt=”Starting in September, Australians will have the opportunity to vote on the issue of same-sex marriage in Australia via a postal survey. There’s a lot of information to take in and not all of the language is easy to understand. We’ve collated everything we know about the survey right here.”]


  • This is a disappointing development. I do not see the survey (it’s not a vote) returning a yes majority. For every engaged Australian, there are 10 who don’t care about politics. They will view the question as ‘Are you gay?’ and answer accordingly.

    At a top level, this debate is about gay marriage – but its underlying message to our younger generation is about gay acceptance. And I sigh for the self esteem issues that causes.

    • I feel you. Unfortunately, I feel like it was a lose-lose situation for Marriage Equality advocates – because the postal survey has already done plenty of damage to them and to the LGBTQI+ community and it hasn’t even begun. If the High Court challenge was successful then we would have just done all that damage for nothing, because the vote would be cancelled and there is no way the current Government would bring legislation forward.

      We get to ‘vote’ now – we get to respond at least and have our say – and hopefully, that will change the law.

  • Considering I already heard the neighbors today talking about how “those freaks shouldn’t be allowed out in public let alone get married” this is going to be a cluster fuck of epic proportions.

    i hate this country

  • I think we should also allow people to marry their sisters since the Bible says that the revered Abraham married his revered sister Sarah. That way we would partly placate the anti-gay marriage Christian coalition.

  • I admit I’ll be glad to hear the end of this (for now) one way or another.. Hopefully in the happy, accepting way, but I won’t be holding my breath.

    I don’t really understand the campaigning though – this isn’t about choosing a political party where people can yo-yo between them.. It’s something that people have deep feelings about and I can’t see as being likely to have their minds changed at all.
    By all means advertise a “if you want more information on why I/we support a no vote [or a yes vote], go to this webpage” – but detailing why SSM is an abomination, or alternatively why anyone who doesn’t vote yes is pure evil, makes no sense to me.
    I’m going to vote yes – but I respect someone else’s right to vote note even though I disagree with it. Your arguments aren’t going to get me to change my mind just as mine (if I were to offer them) are pretty bloody unlikely to change yours.

    Sharing the sentiment with zenu in the first post – I feel so sorry for anyone who’s struggling with their identity right now. Going through that in the first place is hard enough – going through it while also having to deal with some of the general media comments/advertising going around now would be bordering on too much for me to deal with. I hope people today are way stronger emotionally than I was..

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!