MARRIAGE DEBATE: If the High Court decides the postal survey is valid, Australians will be asked whether they believe same-sex marriage should be legal.
MARRIAGE DEBATE: If the High Court decides the postal survey is valid, Australians will be asked whether they believe same-sex marriage should be legal. Rob Williams

EXPLAINED: Same-sex marriage postal vote

FROM September 12 until November 7, Australians will be asked to have their say on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

We've had a few readers asking about the process, so here's a quick breakdown of the key facts.

What exactly are we being asked?

The Australia Bureau of Statistics said the survey will contain only one question. The wording will be: Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

When will I get my form?

Forms will be posted over two weeks, starting from September 12, to all Australians registered on the electoral roll including silent electors. Lost, ruined or incorrectly filled out forms can be replaced until October 18. Voters can also pick up forms from designated collection points in capital cities and some regional areas. The ABS will announce these locations closer to the date.

What if I can't fill out a paper form?

Voters who are overseas, experiencing homelessness or have a disability such as blindness have two options. They can either ask a trusted person to complete their form or access a paperless response. Find out more about the latter via abs.gov.au or 1800572113. Those with speech or hearing impairments can use the National Relay Service via 133677 or SMS to 0423677767. Translation and interpretation information will also be included on the form.

When should I send it back?

The ABS strongly encourages voters to return their forms by October 27 but will accept responses received until 6pm November 7.

Do I have to?

No, the survey is voluntary. If you don't wish to respond, the ABS advises destroying your survey form.

If it's a 'yes' vote, does that mean same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia?

No, the survey is only an indication of Australian popular opinion. Members of Parliament are not bound by the results.

When will we know the results?

The ABS will release the results on November 15.

What if I still have questions or concerns?

Visit www.abs.gov.au or phone the hotline 1800572113.



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