Decision day arrives for same-sex marriage in Australia — Postal survey results

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Liberal Senator Dean Smith has said he will introduce a bill to parliament this week to legalize same-sex marriage.

"We will do what we can to guard against restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to defend parents' rights, and to protect Australian kids from being exposed to radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education in the classrooms".

After six weeks of compassion and aggression, Australia's social future will be decided when the Australian Bureau of Statistics returns the results of the government's controversial same-sex marriage survey.

But they also include exemptions for religious organizations to refuse to hold same-sex weddings.

Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann said his personal instinct was the Smith bill was "probably a good starting position" because it had been subject to a cross-party Senate committee process.

"Australians are voting to make our country a fairer and more equal place, not to take us back to a time where people can be denied service at a shop", said Anna Brown, cochair of the Equality Campaign. In his opinion piece Senator Paterson said printing companies, broadcasters and venues would be able to turn down business from either side of the debate.

"I've never believed that allowing same-sex couples to marry needs to come at the expense of the freedoms of other Australians".

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Almost eight in 10 Australians who received the Australian Bureau of Statistics same-sex marriage survey form have already had their say.

Barring any unforeseen mishap, the survey results will be published on by the ABS on 15 November 2017.

Turnbull has long supported same-sex marriage, but his political fortunes are tied to right-wing members of his conservative governing coalition, many of whom are dead-set against it.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm is planning a number of amendments. "This year, before Christmas - that must be our commitment", Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

Paterson's version was denounced by the opposition Labor Party.

"The simple message now is: pass the law", said Tiernan Brady, leader of the Marriage Equality campaign.

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