On Wednesday, a bill to allow same-sex marriage was put before the Australian House of Representatives and was overwhelmingly voted down in the lower house. In a rare sight, the Prime Minister and several of her frontbenchers, including Treasurer Wayne Swan and Environment Minister Tony Burke, moved across to the Coalition benches, facing almost 40 of their Labor party colleagues as the vote was counted.
The bill, one of four currently before the parliament to amend the Marriage Act to enable same-sex marriage, was defeated 98-42.
Then yesterday, the Senate rejected a private members bill sponsored by Labor backbenchers by 41 votes to 26.
At its national conference, Labor agreed to allow a conscience vote on gay marriage, but Tony Abbott demanded his Coalition MPs vote down the move.
The Labor backbencher who introduced the bill into the House of Representatives, Stephen Jones, says he’s confident we will see same-sex marriage ceremonies conducted in Australia within the next 10 years.
Unfortunately, our current federal representations don’t appear to be the ones who are going to usher Australia into the 21st century on this issue.
And that’s fine. If these politicians believe that marriage is between a man AND a woman, forever and to the exclusion of all others, and that children need a mother AND a father, perhaps they could hurry up and pass a bill banning divorce, and criminalising infidelity? That would be great. Then we’ll know you really mean it.
They have already said that upholding what’s essentially just a dictionary definition matters more than people’s happiness. So let’s see them commit to it. I look forward to the private members bill banning divorce.