Australian government will continue blocking Parliamentary vote on marriage equality

Protesters push for Parliamentary vote on marriage equality

Australia’s ruling party has voted down a Parliamentary vote on marriage equality, opting to instead hold a public vote which is not legally binding.

The Liberal-National Coalition was re-elected last year after pledging to hold a plebiscite vote during the elections.

Protesters push for Parliamentary vote on marriage equality

Protesters push for Parliamentary vote on marriage equality (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

However, the plebiscite has been blocked by the Senate as it was met with criticism because it is not legally binding and would be incredibly expensive.

It would cost the an estimated 170 million Australian dollars.

Pro-LGBT rebels pushed for a Parliamentary vote to be held instead, sparking a crisis meeting of Liberal Party MPs today.

The meetin, rejected a proposal put forward by gay Senator Dean Smith.

The proposal called for a Parliamentary vote on a draft bill which would legalise same-sex marriage.

“It’s time for the party to put the matter to rest once and for all,” Smith said ahead of the meeting.

The proposal was voted down, meaning Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his coalition government will move forward with either a public vote (plebiscite).

The rejected plebiscite bill will be reintroduced in the Senate this week and if it is rejected once more than a voluntary postal plebiscite will be proposed as a cheaper option.

Just seven lawmakers voted against the plebiscite being reintroduced, compared to 27 who supported the policy.

The Equality Campaign, a leading marriage equality advocacy group in the country, said the decision was disappointing but they were ready to take legal action if a plebiscite or postal vote is held.

“The national campaign has resolved to maintain its commitment to fight the plebiscite in any form and advocate for the parliament to do its job and vote on marriage equality,” Co-Chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich said.

“The plebiscite is a failed policy rejected by the parliament and the postal plebiscite is a flawed policy. LGBTI Australians, their family, friends and colleagues will be disappointed tonight but our campaign will not stop just because their government has failed us,” Alex Greenwich said.

Co-Chair of The Equality Campaign, Anna Brown said we now have a marriage equality bill that allows marriage equality to now become a reality. This is about civil marriage and no religious sacrament is impacted in anyway.

“Our family and friends deserve better. Marriage equality is about real people, our friends and family, teammates and work colleagues who just want the same dignity as everyone else,” Anna Brown said.

“Telling one group of people that their rights cannot be decided by Parliament but instead have to be decided by a separate process sends a clear and terrible message to Australians that LGBTI people have to reach a higher bar for their dignity,” said Tiernan Brady, Executive Director, The Equality Campaign.

“All across Australia people have proved to the parliament that their campaign for marriage equality will not go away or go quiet. The message from everyone today was loud and clear to all Federal MP’s, it’s time to do your job and introduce marriage equality in line with the clear wishes and values of the Australian people,” Tiernan Brady concluded.

The Equality Campaign’s executive director, Tiernan Brady, added: “We’re not going anywhere the momentum that has grown over the past few months is not going anywhere, we’re not going anywhere.”

Hundreds of people rallied in Sydney yesterday (August 6) for a Parliamentary vote to be held on same-sex marriage.

Polls have shown favourability for marriage equality in the country for a long time, with most MPs and Senators also backing public opinion.