Marriage sights on states after federal setback
Marriage equality advocates have vowed the battle will now turn towards the states after the defeat of two separate marriage equality bills in both houses of Federal Parliament.
A vote on Labor MP Stephen Jones’s bill in the Lower House last Wednesday saw just 42 MPs vote in support with 98 MPs opposing. Despite marriage equality being a part of the Labor Party’s official party platform, only 38 out of a total 71 Labor MPs were prepared to vote in favour of the party’s policy.
All Coalition MPs opposed the bill in accordance with the wishes of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who refused to follow Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s lead to allow for a conscience vote.
The next day, a vote in the Senate on a similar bill introduced by Labor senators Louise Pratt, Trish Crossin, Gavin Marshall and Carol Brown was defeated 41-26. A third of Labor senators sided with the Coalition while Liberal Senator Sue Boyce did not cross the floor despite delivering a speech in favour of the reform.
There still remain a further two marriage equality bills before Federal Parliament – one introduced by Greens Sarah Hanson-Young and the other by Greens MP Adam Bandt and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
Speaking at an ACON function in Sydney on Thursday night, high-profile Labor MP and marriage equality supporter, Anthony Albanese, said the reform would be inevitable.
“To the people in this room who are ahead of the game, equality is coming – it’s unstoppable,” he said.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome, said attention would now turn to Tasmania where a state-based same-sex marriage bill had already passed the state’s Lower House and other states and territories where similar bills were being prepared.
“NSW state MPs [last week] launched a cross-party group to progress legislation and the NSW Liberal Premier granted a conscience vote.
“Next week the Tasmanian Upper House debates same-sex marriage. The South Australian and ACT Governments are also committed to reform,” Croome said.
“It is almost certain we will see same-sex marriages on Australian soil by the end of the year.
Other advocates such as Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) co-convener Cat Rose said the LGBTI community had every right to feel angry and betrayed.
“Shame, shame on those politicians who use their power to deny us equality. Our community is not prepared to sit at the back of the bus any longer,” she said.
“Watch out, this campaign is not going away. Protests are already being planned right around the country.”
The next protest for marriage equality in Sydney will take place outside Town Hall on November 25.
- Tags: ACT, Adam Bandt, Andrew Wilkie, Australian Marriage Equality, CAAH, Carol Brown, Cat Rose, Federal Parliament, Gavin Marshall, House of Representatives, Julia Gillard, Louise Pratt, NSW, Politics, Rodney Croome, Same-Sex Marriage, Sarah Hanson-Young, Senate, South Australia, Stephen Jones, Sue Boyce, SX, Tasmania, Tony Abbott, Trish Crossin