Australians to get vote on legalizing same-sex marriage, PM says

Supporters of same-sex marriage carry banners and shout slogans as they march in Sydney on August 6.

Story highlights

  • NEW: A plebiscite on same-sex marriage has failed to get funding in Parliament
  • Prime Minister Turnbull said a postal vote would be held if a plebiscite didn't pass

(CNN)Australia could legalize same-sex marriage by as early as the end of this year, after the government announced an attempt to hold a national vote on the issue.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday he would "give all Australians a say" on whether same-sex marriage should be legal.
    "I'll be voting yes, as will (my wife), I'm very open about that but the Australian people are never wrong when they vote, whether it's for governments or on matters like this, their vote will be respected," Turnbull said.
    The governing Liberal National coalition failed Wednesday morning to pass legislation to hold a compulsory national vote, or plebsicite, on same-sex marriage. It had already attempted once in October 2016.
    Turnbull said Tuesday if Parliament rejected the plebiscite a voluntary national postal vote would be held instead without parliamentary approval.
    The Australian leader said the postal vote would be completed before the final sitting week of Australia's Parliament in November.
    It has been widely condemned by same-sex marriage advocates, who say the vote is unnecessary and expensive, while a polarizing campaign would be traumatic for Australia's LGBT community.
    The opposition Labor Party has repeatedly called for a simple vote in Parliament to approve same-sex marriage, which consecutive polls show most Australians support.
    "Our family and friends deserve better. Marriage equality is about real people, our friends and family, teammates and work colleagues who just want the same dignity as everyone else," Anna Brown, co-chair of the Equality Campaign, said in a statement

    Legal action possible against vote

    The latest attempt to resurrect the debate around same-sex marriage was triggered after a group of rebel politicians inside the government began a push to ditch the plebiscite as official government policy.
    A meeting of politicians in the Liberal Party was held on Monday, where it was decided there would instead be a renewe