Support for marriage equality in Australia’s parliament has reached critical mass in both houses for the first time ever, according to the Sydney Morning Herald:
According to the key lobby group leading the charge for a broadened definition of marriage in the Marriage Act, Australian Marriage Equality, there is now a slim majority of pro-change MPs in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
“We’re confident the numbers are there for marriage equality to pass both houses of federal Parliament right now if a free vote is granted to Coalition members,” said the group’s director, Rodney Croome, arguing it meant there was “no need for an expensive and divisive plebiscite”.
New Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in September that he planned to stick to a plan from former PM Tony Abbott and hold a public vote on marriage equality after the next election rather than allowing a free vote in parliament. But the votes were unclear at that time, and now there is more pressure on Turnbull to hold the vote.
On Friday, Turnbull, who personally supports marriage equality, reiterated his call for a plebiscite:
Asked about the plebiscite on Friday, Mr Turnbull was emphatic, declaring the people’s verdict would be reflected “absolutely”.
“The Coalition party room, this is when Mr Abbott was prime minister, made a decision that the matter would be put to the people, that the people would decide. It’s perfectly democratic. There will be a plebiscite. That’s our policy … if the majority of people voting in the plebiscite vote in favour of it, then same-sex marriage will be legalised.”