Marriage equality in Australia has hit another major roadblock after several parties announced they won’t support a national referendum (plebiscite) backed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Nick Xenophon has confirmed his party will block the same-sex marriage plebiscite, as Australian Marriage Equality told MPs who support marriage equality they would share the blame if their failure to work together resulted in a stalemate.
The fate of the popular vote now lies with Labor, which has indicated it is likely to vote it down.
In a statement on Monday, the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) said: “We do not support [the marriage equality plebiscite proposal of the government].”
The statement cited two reasons: that it is a matter that parliament “can and should decide” in a free vote and the $160m cost.
Turnbull is not budging on the plebiscite:
On Sunday he told the ABC Insiders program:
There is no question that the fastest way, the way you guarantee that there is a vote in the parliament on gay marriage – in this parliament – is to support the plebiscite. Personally I have no doubt the plebiscite will be carried, and the same sex marriage legislation will sail through the parliament.
Technically speaking, the fastest way to guarantee a vote in the parliament on gay marriage is if the prime minister brought forward a bill on the subject and let his party room have a free vote. No plebiscite is needed to give the parliament permission to have a vote.
But Turnbull won’t allow a free vote on the issue.
And gay and lesbian citizens continue to suffer.