Young Aussies May Embrace Snail Mail to Boost Gay Marriage Bid

(Bloomberg) -- Concerns that Australians will boycott a nationwide voluntary postal survey on whether lawmakers should legalize same-sex marriage may be misplaced, data released by the Australian Electoral Commission on Friday suggests.

Since Aug. 9 when the survey was announced, more than 90,000 people have joined the electoral role. A record number of Australians -- at least 16 million, or 95 percent of those eligible -- are now enrolled to vote. That may alleviate concerns of some critics of the postal ballot, who have said younger, liberal Aussies who rarely use mail in the internet age may not participate, as opposed to older, more conservative generations who grew up in the days of pen-friends and stamp collections.

Still, some gay rights campaigners are still seeking the High Court to rule the survey should be abandoned, saying it’s leading to a wave of bigotry from anti-same sex marriage activists, such as a poster which appeared in Melbourne this week. They just want Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to heed previous, albeit less comprehensive surveys, which show a majority of Australians support marriage equality and allow lawmakers to vote in parliament on the issue.

Turnbull has defended the A$122 million ($96 million) survey, saying if the majority indicates they want same-sex marriage legalized, he’ll seek to legislate it by the end of the year. That said, he still can’t force conservatives within his government to vote in support of that legislation; some have indicated they won’t, regardless of the survey’s outcome.