Australian government plans to show support for same-sex marriage through a voluntary postal ballot after its divisive bill for a compulsory vote was again rejected by the senate.

It was gathered that if the postal vote goes ahead and shows support for changing the law, the results will not be legally binding.

However, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said it could prompt a parliamentary vote to legalise same-sex marriage this year.

The postal ballot, as it is known, has been criticised by opponents as an unnecessary delay in resolving the debate, which they say could be settled immediately in parliament.

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