Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Australia Lower House Rejects Marriage Bill 98-42

Bad news from Australia today. A bill to legalize civil marriages for same-sex couples was overwhelmingly rejected by the lower house of the Australian parliament 98-42 when Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party joined opposition leader of the Liberal Party Tony Abbott to mobilize their party members to vote no by physically sitting together in the chamber. The Liberal Party whipped their party members to oppose the bill while the majority Labor party allowed a conscience vote.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The bill, introduced by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones, was defeated in the house of representatives 98 votes to 42. Ten of the 17 Cabinet Ministers in the lower house, Green Adam Bandt and independents Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Craig Thomson voted for same sex marriage. All coalition MPs, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd voted against the bill.


"Now the federal parliament has effectively brushed the wishes of a majority of Australians aside, the states and territories will take the lead, making me confident we will see same sex marriages performed somewhere in Australia by the end of the year," Australian Marriage Equality convener Alex Greenwich said.
There are efforts to have Tasmania and New South Wales enact marriage equality at the state level but due to the federal nature of the country, one state's marriages do not have to be recognized by another state, which is why marriage equality activists had been campaigning for a federal civil marriage bill, which is supported by nearly two-thirds of Australians according to recent public polls.

The marriage equality bill was expected to fail in the lower House, and although the margin is likely to be closer in the Senate, it is also expected to fail in the upper House as well in a vote which could come as soon as today. 39 votes are needed to pass the Senate and only 29 Senators are expected to vote yes to end federal marriage discrimination in Australia.

Hat/tip to Joe.My.God

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