Federal Marriage Equality Bill Fails in Australia in 98-42 Vote

A federal marriage equality bill was defeated 98-42 in Australia's House of Representatives yesterday with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd all voting to kill it, The Age reports:

GillardChannelling another former Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, Mr Jones urged campaigners to "maintain your rage," while the Australian Christian Lobby head Jim Wallace said it was time for the parliament to "move on."

Gay rights activists said they would now look to state and territory parliaments to make the change.

"Now the federal parliament has effectively brushed the wishes of a majority of Australians aside, the states and territories will take the lead, making me confident we will see same sex marriages performed somewhere in Australia by the end of the year," Australian Marriage Equality convener Alex Greenwich said.

Tasmania's lower house last month passed a bill to legalise gay marriage. It must still pass the state's 15-seat Legislative Council to become law. Efforts to legalise same sex marriage are also underway in South Australia, the ACT and New South Wales, where Premier Barry O'Farrell will allow his MPs a free vote.

The Senate is expected to defeat a bill this week as well.

ABC News adds:

Finance Minister Penny Wong, who is gay, acknowledged in recent days that the legislation was unlikely to pass, but still argued passionately for its approval during the debate.

"If you subscribe to the principal of equality, as I'm sure most in the chamber would, then substitute 'same sex' for 'race' in this debate and see if it changes your view," Wong, who has a Chinese-Malaysian father and Australian mother of European descent, told lawmakers. "Just imagine if we told Australians today that they could not marry the person they love because of the color of their skin."


  1. James says

    This was a sad day for all Australians, a parliament refusing to recognise its gay citizens as deserving of fundamental human rights. Shame on the those who voted against this bill.Don’t coming sniffing around me for my vote come the next election.

  2. jason says

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Australia is NOT a gay-friendly country. It’s a gay-hostile country where gays are frequently beaten in broad daylight. Yes, there are a few enclaves where gays are tolerated but these are generally commercial in nature, such as Oxford St in Sydney or King St in suburban Newtown, and do not represent the broader country.

    The fraud all along has been that Australia is gay-friendly. This fraud has been perpetrated through tourism ads. It’s a very ugly redneck country in reality.

  3. Icebloo says

    WTF ?! Kevin Rudd was all for this a few weeks ago ! Now I have no sympathy that he was stabbed in the back and pushed out of his job. The man is a liar and a snake.

    What the hell is happening Australia ?

    It’s really non surprise when you consider how badly Australia still treats immigrant and native aborigines. Human rights are way behind there and the weak, untrustworthy Labor Party has no balls.

    I hope this vote of hate kills the tourists dollars they get from gays going to Sydney Mardi Gras. Money talks folks !

  4. Randy says

    I think the Labor party is going to find itself without the support needed to save itself in the next election. They deserve to lose.

    What’s shocking is that a party named “Liberal” voted entirely against same-sex marriage. They should be made to change their name to something more reflective of who they really are.

  5. andrew says

    Really guys? Country bashing? You’re going to label all Aus homophobic due to the fact the Liberal Party (which refers to centre-right economic liberalism) were forced to vote “No” on this issue? I cam see Jason has done his standard copy & paste.

  6. Freddie says

    I am neither Australian nor American, but to all the snooty Yanks who seem to be secretly pleased that this didn’t pass in hopes that there’s at least one other country in the Anglophone world as homophobic and bigoted a backwater as most of the US, tough luck. 68% of Australians support marriage equality in polls. 68%! Australia repealed the last of its sodomy laws in 1997, six years before the US did. Australia has allowed open service by LGB’s since 1992, 19 years before the US. Australian gay couples are granted all the same rights as married couples in ALL the territories, and at the Federal level as well. ALL the territories and the Federal government ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well. Sorry, USA, for getting your hopes up, still the backwater we all know you are on LGBT rights.

  7. Pigs says

    Once again, I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Jason, but he’s right – Australia is NOT a gay friendly country by any means. I know several gay Australians who have said themselves that there is so much homophobia there and beatings. That was enough for me to decide it wasn’t worth 24 hours to a place like that, and this story is just another reminder why I won’t be going anytime soon. They don’t deserve our tourism dollars.

  8. antony says

    Why all this hate and incorrect information about Australia. We are talking about a Government decision, has the president of America allowed gay marriage in all states? No he hasnt. @Jason do you realise there are more cities than Sydney and Melbourne? I have lived in both and now in Perth.. Do you know where that city lies in Australia? I presume no, I am 39 and have not been beatan up like you state that happpens in our ‘redneck’ country as you call it. Yes its dissapointing that our government is still not recognising same sex marriage but your government doesnt either in a whole. and just something to think about, my partner is on my health policy and has had a pre existing spinal condition, when he came onto my policy 2 years ago he didnt think surgey was on the horizon but it was, and in Australia pre existing conditions only require 12 months of cover before you can claim and same sex cover is recognised. he had to have surgery last year and in May of this year total cost being $240,000.00 it that same period we only paid $4,500 in health cover and our out of pockect was $7,000. So I think if anyone has a negative comment about another country you might want to find out what its really like to live in that country and compare it to your own backyard

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