Lawmakers Introduce Two Marriage Equality Bills in Australia, Both Expected to Fail

Two bills to legalize same-sex marriage, one from the Green party and one from the Labor party, have been introduced in Australia, AFP reports:

AustraliaThe private member's bills, introduced by left-leaning Greens lawmaker Adam Bandt and Stephen Jones from the ruling Labor party, take to three the pieces of legislation now before the parliament calling for gay marriage rights.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young brought a similar bill in the upper house in September 2010 which is now being examined by a legislative inquiry.

None of the bills have enough support to pass into law but rights campaigners said their introduction, which follows Labor's reversal of its official policy to pro-gay marriage in December, showed the tide was turning.

"The Jones bill demonstrates the immense momentum behind reform," said Alex Greenwich, convenor of the Australian Marriage Equality lobby group.

"Three months ago the Labor Party was officially opposed to reform and now we have a Labor member leading the way towards equality." He described Monday's events as a "milestone on the road to equality".

No timeframe has been set for a vote on either bill:


  1. jason says

    There is no “turning of the tide” in Australia. It’s a very backward, homophobic country. The gay rights activists over there are highly disorganized and uninterested, and have therefore achieved nothing.

    Gays in Australia keep getting sucked in by the Labor Party in Australia. The Labor Party is actually quite homophobic overall.

  2. candide001 says

    The most recent poll shows two-thirds of Australians support same-sex marriage.

    It showed 62 per cent support same-sex marriage – results consistent with previous polls.

    Support was strongest amongst young voters; with 81 per cent of respondents aged 18-24 supporting same-sex marriage.

    Only a slight majority of older voters support legal reform, with 51 per cent of respondents aged 50-64 supporting a change to allow gay couples to marry.

  3. Robert in NYC says

    Jason seems to forget we have 31 extremely backward states in this country and a republican party equally backward, spiteful, mean-spirited and bigoted making sure that DOMA remains and would support it in all states, as well as reintroduce DADT. Just because we have marriage equality in only six, soon to be seven states, can’t even be construed as full equality since no gay married couple has federal recognition and that’s going to take decades to achieve.

    Australia will have marriage equality across the land, sooner than we will, ditto the UK.

  4. enough already says

    I don’t know enough about Australia to have a firm opinion. From what I have read, their labor party has a strong gay-hating minority (the PM is from that group) as well as the usual civil-rights fighters.
    I’m wishing them all the best!

  5. TampaZeke says

    If this story:

    is to be believed then the marriage bills may have a chance.

    If the opposition Liberal Party (Australia’s conservative party) grants a conscience vote then marriage equality has about a 50/50 chance of passing. It’s being reported that Liberal back benchers will be allowed a conscience vote.

    Isn’t it funny how conservatives always scream “LET THE PEOPLE VOTE” until they realize that a vote will not go their way and then they want to deny conscience votes?

  6. Michaelandfred says

    This one confuses me. I “get” when politicians are too afraid to do the right thing when they are ahead of the popular curve on civil rights issues, but in Australia where poll after poll shows a huge majority of the population favors equality, what the hell are they afraid of? Even the ones from backwards areas can save face by saying it’s obvious the majority is behind this even if they personally are not and they are just doing the job they were sent to do.

    Allow a conscience vote and maybe we’ll be surprised.

  7. Malcolm says

    The anti-gay forces are much more zealous and organized than the pro-gay forces in Australia, even though opinion polls show a majority of Australians support marriage equality. In other words, there is a passion and organization gap that has political consequences.

  8. Steve says

    It could be argued that the reason that gay activism is so strong in the US is that it has to be. Even the smallest advanced are huge controversies and battles.

    Sure, there anti-gay forces in all countries, but in most western countries the opposition isn’t as venemous and mean-spirited

  9. Mark says

    The commenters criticising progress in Australia in comparison to the US don’t know what they’re talking about. All Australians have complete equality with regards to (for example) taxation, superannuation, medical, family and inheritance federal law. Australians have federal employment non-discrimination legislation, which the US has not managed yet. Australia’s prohibition on gay and lesbian military service was removed in 1992, compared to 2011(!) in the US. The Australian equivalent of Lawrence v Texas (2003) was in 1996, and unenforceable state sodomy laws were all repealed in 1997, whereas some states in the USA can’t manage even this, in 2012!

  10. Ausländer says

    Mark is quite correct. For gay Australia, the move to legalise same-sex marriages is entirely symbolic. Functionally, same-sex couples enjoy exactly the same rights as opposite-sex couples.

    I also agree with Steve. Gay society is not under the kind of attack that it seems to suffer in the USA. Indeed, such vitriolic attacks from mainstream politicians as are seen in the USA would be unthinkable in Australia. The only politicians who have voiced such opinions have, quite rightly, been regarded as belonging to the lunatic fringe.

    Thank goodness Australia does not suffer from the religiosity that is currently afflicting America.

Leave A Reply