Australian court hears challenges to same-sex marriage vote

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Australian court hears challenges to same-sex marriage vote

Australian court hears challenges to same-sex marriage vote: Australia’s highest court has begun hearing legal challenges against a national vote on same-sex marriage. The government plans to hold a non-binding postal survey from next week to gauge support for changing Australia’s law to allow same-sex marriage.

PM Malcolm Turnbull has said the vote could lead to the tabling of a bill in parliament later this year.

Intense campaigning has already begun, but the survey will not go ahead if the legal challenges are successful.

Two separate challenges by same-sex marriage advocates will be heard in the High Court of Australia on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Legal experts believe the court will rule on the matter quickly because the government is planning to mail out surveys from 12 September.

The vote has drawn controversy over its A$122m (£75m; $97m) cost and fears that it will prompt hate-filled campaigns. Many same-sex marriage supporters want parliament alone to debate changing the law.

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