Australia Senate tells PM: Just pass same-sex marriage now

The Australian Senate has passed a motion calling on the PM to scrap plans for a distant ‘public vote’ on same-sex marriage, to act on the issue now.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has committed to holding a plebiscite (public vote) on the issue after the next federal election – meaning the vote may not take place until 2017, and marriages might take even longer to begin.

In the face of overwhelming public support for same-sex marriage, which leaves little doubt about the outcome of the plebiscite, many have called for a simple vote to be held in Parliament instead to allow weddings to begin much sooner.

The Australian Senate, where the Coalition government does not have an overall majority, this week passed a motion rejecting proposals for a public vote – instead calling for an immediate free vote in Parliament.

According to GNN, the motion from Greens senator Robert Simms was backed with a clear majority vote.

He said: “Momentum continues to build for marriage equality in this country.

“Today the Australian Senate rejected a divisive and costly plebiscite and instead called on the Prime Minister to grant a free vote on marriage equality.”

“Australians don’t want another opinion poll on this issue. They want the Parliament to legislate.”

There is no obligation for the House of Representatives to accept the recommendation – but campaigners remain hopeful.

Erin McCallum of Australian Marriage Equality said the issue was ‘Almost there’, adding: “This week, the Senate voted to support a motion against holding a plebiscite on marriage equality and urged Prime Minister Turnbull to hold a Free Vote in Parliament.

“If he heeds the Senate’s advice, is it critical that we have the numbers in the lower house to win the vote.

“Right now, we’re just six votes away from achieving that goal. We know that’s an achievable goal if enough of us come together and raise our voices.”