Australia's High Court on Thursday
ruled unanimously in favor of allowing a nationwide postal vote on
whether same-sex marriage should be legal to proceed.
The court dismissed two legal
challenges that sought to block the survey from taking place.
According to The New York Times, the court is not expected to
release its full decision for several weeks.
The main legal argument used to
challenge the survey from going further involves how it was funded.
The government used a mechanism that allows it to spend up to $236
million if the expenditure is “urgent” or “unforeseen.”
Opponents argued that the postal vote did not meet either obligation.
The government pursued the postal vote
after lawmakers twice rejected attempts to hold a national plebiscite
on the issue. It has also steadfastly refused to extend members of
the ruling party a “free vote” on a bill that would extend
marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
Unlike in-person elections in
Australia, voting on the issue is not compulsory.
The government is expected to begin
mailing the survey to voters next week.
While voting is voluntary, a recent
survey found that 67 percent of Australians plan to participate in
the vote and 63 percent support marriage equality.