The High Court has dismissed the two legal challenges posed against the government’s marriage equality postal survey, which will now continue to go ahead.

The Court announced its decision this afternoon, with both cases dismissed, and the plaintiffs to pay costs.

A handful of marriage equality advocates had posed two separate challenges to the government’s proposed postal survey in the High Court.

The plaintiffs in the first case were lesbian mother-of-three Felicity Marlowe, independent MP Andrew Wilkie, and Shelley Argent from PFLAG.

The plaintiffs in the second case were advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality and Greens Senator Janet Rice.

They argued that the government didn’t have the right to spend $122 million of Treasury funds on the survey without passing an act through parliament. While the government will draw the money from a fund for “unforeseen” spending, the challengers said the government itself created the urgency with its own tight deadline for the vote.

The cases also argued that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), who will be running the postal survey, only have the power to collect “statistical information” as opposed to opinions about same-sex marriage.

While it usually takes months for the high court to make a decision on a case, this result was fast-tracked due to urgency, and the High Court won’t release the full reasonings behind its decision until later down the track.

Now that the cases have both been dismissed, the ballots will be mailed out  by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as soon as next week on September 12, and enrolled voters will have until November 7 to post them back.

If the “yes” vote prevails, PM Malcolm Turnbull has said he will allow private member’s bill on same-sex and gender marriage to be introduced to the parliament in the final sitting fortnight of 2017.

“We are in it to win it. We are committed to doing all in our power to ensure that the long held wish of the Australian people for marriage equality for all Australians is reflected in the results of the survey,” said Tiernan Brady, Executive Director of The Equality Campaign.

“This must be a campaign of millions of respectful conversations that unites the country. We haven’t a moment to lose and we are hitting the ground running with hundreds of thousands of supporters talking about why marriage equality matters.

“This is a vote about the worth, dignity and status of members of our family, friends, workmates and neighbours, and across the country people are standing up for them.

“Today the Campaign releases new TV and Radio advertisements calling supporters across the nation to get out and vote.

“We know that the Australian people support marriage equality but no one can be complacent – it is all about getting as many surveys returned as possible.”

Please read our guide on how to make sure you can vote in the upcoming postal survey.

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