The Gay Marriage issue has long been a point of contentious debate in Australia and yesterday was a prominent day for all who supported (and even those who didn’t) the change in legislation. Let me explain….
The hype surrounding gay marriage has risen of late with polls indicating that most Australians support gay marriage. Evidently Labor backbencher Stephen Jones proposed a legislation to legalize same – sex marriage.
Only to be completely shut down.
The amendment to the Marriage Act finally faced the House of Representatives yesterday after years of campaigning for equal marriage rights by supporters. However, with 98 votes to 42 the bill was dismissed. So who dismissed it?
Well… fundamentally the Liberal party, and particularly Tony Abbott, have never been a fan of this proposition. Abbott’s right hand man Senator Cory Bernardi went so far as to compare gay marriage to bestiality. (Ultimately even such a statement was ‘too far’ for the Liberal Party and Bernardi found himself forced to resign his parliamentary role only days later.)
Prime minister Julia Gillard has also remained opposed to the bill, despite the Labor Party having lifted ‘its long standing opposition to gay marriage last year’. So, essentially both leaders of the major parties did not support gay marriage.
The difference between both parties?
Julia Gillard allowed members of the Labor party to make a ‘conscience vote’. A ‘conscience vote’ is where lawmakers are able to vote by their beliefs without being abject to expulsion for defying the party line. As a result 38 Labor MP’s voted for the change. However, in a very rare move “Julia Gillard and several senior ministers, including Treasurer Wayne Swan, Environment Minister Tony Burke, and Trade Minister Craig Emerson as well as former leader Kevin Rudd moved to the Coalition benches” to vote against gay marriage.
On the other hand, Abbot did not allow his members of the Coalition to do so. Meaning members, such as Coalition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull who has often voiced his support for gay marriage, were forced to vote against the bill.
Many advocates of gay marriage have argued that their was little point in voting for the bill if both parties were not allowed a conscience vote – What do you think?
As I write this, the Senate are debating another marriage equality bill. Log on tomorrow to get the gist of what happens.
To get involved visit:
PRO Gay Marriage:
ANTI Gay Marriage: