November 8, 2016 | Sex & Society

Australia will no longer hold a referendum on gay marriage

Gay marriage in AustraliaThere will not be a public vote in Australia on same-sex marriage. 
 
The country's Upper House Senate decided 33 to 29 against the current coalition government’s promise to hold a plebiscite on the issue. The public vote would have cost over AU$160 million (US$123 million), and could have proven extremely divisive. The vote would not have been legally binding.
 
"The experts have unequivocally explained to Labor that the plebiscite would cause harm to gay and lesbian people particularly but not exclusively young people," opposition leader Bill Shorten said. "Marriage equality, let’s make it a reality, let’s just get on with it."
 
“We know a plebiscite is divisive,” Penny Wong, a senator from the Labor Party, said on Monday. “It will give those who oppose equality a multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded megaphone to spread a message of intolerance.”
 
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had asked lawmakers in September to support a bill, partly to win support from conservatives from his Liberal Party-led coalition. Turnbull felt the vote would prove the public was ready for same-sex marriage in the country, making it easier for his MPs to vote for it.
 
Polls have confirmed this; in August, for example, 57% of Australians said they would vote on favor of same-sex marriage. (Even better, 98% of koalas support it!)
 
Australia’s Parliament Rejects Public Vote on Gay Marriage [The New York Times]
 
Australia same-sex marriage vote blocked by opposition [BBC News]

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