Australia’s Parliament Blocks Same-Sex Marriage Vote

More than two-thirds of Australians support marriage equality.

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 Sydney Harbour Bridge is lit with the colours of the rainbow on June 13, 2016, in remembrance of victims after a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the worst mass shooting in modern US history.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit with the colours of the rainbow on June 13 as hundreds of Australians gathered to stand in solidarity with the global gay community after the worst mass shooting in modern US history. / AFP / WILLIAM WEST        (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

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.”

Pro-gay marriage suppoters march in a rally for their rights in Sydney on June 25, 2016. Hundreds of supporters of gay marriage marched through the streets of the central business district of Sydney for their rights. / AFP / SAEED KHAN        (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

“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

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