On Monday a bill was voted down in Australia’s parliament that would have allowed a plebiscite in February 2017 on same-sex marriage.
“Labor, the Greens, Nick Xenophon Team and senator Derryn Hinch combined in the Senate to block the plebiscite by 33 votes to 29, as they had promised weeks before,” reports The Guardian.
The plebiscite—a vote by the people of an entire country to decide on an issue—would have cost Australians $140 million, and asked Australians “if the Marriage Act should be revised to allow same-sex couples to marry.”
The Greens and Labor parties actually support legalizing same-sex marriage, but they don’t support the costly plebiscite calling it a “possible platform for hate speech.”
“More than two-thirds of Australians support marriage equality,” said Rodney Croome, a campaigner for the bill. “The majority of lawmakers want change and just a handful need to be persuaded to defy party lines for the Marriage Act to be revised.”
“That could happen quickly,” he added. “I only ever saw the plebiscite as a delaying tactic. It became a debate about the process rather than marriage reform.”
Before Monday’s vote Attorney General George Brandis gave a speech to the senators telling them to “stop playing politics with gay people’s lives. Get out of the way and let us have the plebiscite that would deliver marriage equality in Australia in less than 100 days.”
“Now that the plebiscite legislation is dead, we again call marriage equality supporters across all political parties to work together to find a pathway,” said Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality. “It’s time our parliamentarians found a fair and dignified pathway that ensures every Australian is treated equally.”
h/t: The New York Times