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Australia Same-Sex Marriage Vote Blocked

Image: Australia Same-Sex Marriage Vote Blocked

Two women in support of same-sex marriages march during the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday, March 5, 2011, in Sydney, Australia. (Rob Griffith/AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Oct 2016 09:11 AM

An Australian same sex marriage vote planned for next year was essentially blocked this week after its opposition Labor party announced Tuesday that it would not support a national vote.

The coalition government introduced legislation in parliament in September to hold a public non-binding vote in February 2017 to legalize same-sex marriages, according to Reuters.

The BBC News reported that while parliament could still vote on whether to put the same-sex marriage measure on the ballot, it is unlikely to pass the body's senate without opposition support.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had hoped to put the issue on the ballot, but critics, including many supporters of same-sex marriage, say parliament should make the decision itself, the BBC News reported.

Some Australian opinion polls had placed support for same-sex marriage there from 60 to 72 percent. As of 2011, there was an estimated 33,700 same-sex couples living there, about one percent of all of its couples, BBC News reported.

"We have a plan to win the marriage debate and yesterday Bill Shorten (Labor Party leader) played an important and helpful role in that plan," Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton, one of leading campaigners against marriage equality, told supporters in an email, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We now have more time to continue building our campaign, more time to build our coalition, and more time to win the hearts and minds of millions of Australians. Make no mistake, Bill Shorten is playing politics with this issue. Yet he has unwittingly given our side of the debate the gift of time," Shelton added.

Shorten told Reuters that he supported parliament settling the issue, charging that turning the issue into a ballot initiative would force gay Australians to be "subjected to a different law-making process than any other Australian."

"Why should a couple in a committed relationship have to knock on the doors of 15 million of their fellow Australians and see if they agree with it? The easiest way is the way which this parliament has done for a hundred years – legislate," Shorten said, according to Reuters.

The BBC News reported that the vote could cost the government about $120 million, including equal funding of the campaigns.

Turnbull, a supporter of same-sex marriage, complained that the opposition had more to do with politics than fairness.

"(The opposition is) not so much interested in same-sex couples being able to marry as they are in wringing every ounce of political gain out of this debate," Turnbull said, according to the BBC News.

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An Australian same sex marriage vote planned for next year was essentially blocked this week after its opposition Labor party announced Tuesday that it would not support a national vote.
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2016-11-12
Wednesday, 12 Oct 2016 09:11 AM
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