Australia: PM Julia Gillard’s Government & Liberal Party Succeed In Cock-Blocking Marriage Equality In Parliament
Australia’s House today rejected a marriage equality bill by the lopsided vote of 98-42. As the vote took place Australians witnessed the unusual sight of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other Labor leaders crossing the chamber to sit with those opposed to LGBT equality.Labor backbencher Stephen Jones says he’s confident same-sex marriage ceremonies will be conducted in Australia within the next 10 years, as his bill to allow gay marriage was overwhelmingly voted down in the lower house. The bill, one of four currently before the parliament to amend the Marriage Act to enable gay marriage, was defeated 98-42 in the House of Representatives today. The vote in the lower house came as debate continued in the Senate on a parallel bill for gay marriage put forward by four Labor senators. Finance Minister Penny Wong said “homophobia has increasingly come to the fore” during the parliamentary debate over the last few weeks.
House members of the ruling Labor Party were allowed to vote their conscience, but the members of the Liberal Party-led opposition coalition were ordered to vote against the bill, prompting the Green Party to demand in vain that the vote be postponed until all members could make a free vote.Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard had broken the hearts of gay and lesbian couples and their families around the country. Labor factions had allowed the vote to go ahead knowing it would fail “so they could cry crocodile tears afterwards and then blame Tony Abbott”. “There are many in the Labor Party who just want to clear the decks before an election year and just push this off the agenda … but equality is not going to go away”, he said. The House of Representatives is also considering another bill to legalise same sex marriage, sponsored by Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie.
Today’s House vote took place during a storm of controversy in the Australian Senate after Liberal Sen. Cory Bernardi compared same-sex marriage to bestiality. Bernardi abruptly resigned from his post as party secretary after members of all parties demanded that he be fired.
Australia’s anti-gay Christian activists are thrilled with the vote.The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has thanked federal lower house MPs who voted to defeat a bill in support of same-sex marriage. ACL managing director Jim Wallace said the vast majority of Australians were keen to move on from the issue. “I would like to thank the opposition for keeping its election promise and for all those members of Labor who, as a matter of conscience, voted to ensure that marriage remained between a man and a woman,” he said in statement. A bill similar to Mr Jones’ is currently being debated in the Senate and is also expected to be voted down.
UPDATE: Australian Senate rejects Marriage Equality (Via Joe.My.God.):
As was expected, yesterday the Australian Senate followed the lead of the House and rejected a same-sex marriage bill. The vote was 41-26.
Australian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson used the debate to take a swipe at the “highly offensive” remarks of Liberal Cory Bernardi who suggested legalising gay marriage could lead to calls for the legalisation of bestiality. The comments sparked a furore and cost Senator Bernardi job as a shadow parliamentary secretary. “I can’t think of anything more offensive you could say to a gay person,” Senator Whish-Wilson told parliament. To the howls of Coalition senators, he said he hoped voters realised that’s what they were going to get if they voted Liberal. “Obviously we’ve hit a raw nerve. He wears your colours and he has gone up in the chamber and made an extreme comment,” Senator Whish-Wilson said. Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan said he was appalled at the vilification of MPs who opposed the change. “Under the guise of compassion for the desire of same-sex couples, we have endured a non-stop campaign of denigration against those who have refused to buckle under the weight of an attack designed to pour scorn and guilt on those who have the temerity to refuse to deny their principles,” he said.