Equal marriage bill introduced in Australia

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A bill to legalise same-sex marriage with cross-party support was introduced in the Australian parliament on Monday.

Warren Entsch introduced the bill, which is expected to fail due to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government being opposed.

After the bill was introduced, debate was adjourned.

“This bill is designed to promote an inclusive Australia, not a divided one,” said Entsch.

“A divided nation is what we will be if we continue to allow discrimination in relation to marriage on the basis of a person’s sexuality.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week declared he will sack any ministers who defy him and vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

A number same-sex marriage bills are heading to the Australian Parliament this month – but Abbott – a strong opponent of same-sex marriage – has banned his coalition MPs from voting in favour.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Abbott’s ruling coalition voted by 66 to 33 in favour of banning coalition MPs from voting for equality – ordering them to follow party line and oppose same-sex marriage.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has slammed Mr Abbott for his position on the issue.

Mr Shorten reacted: “Millions of Australians will have woken up this morning bitterly disappointed with Tony Abbott.”

“The choice in this country is clear – you either have Tony Abbott or you have marriage equality, you can’t have both.”

Following the revelation, Labor MP Tim Watts tossed out his carefully prepared speech to lay into the government.