Australia votes against same-sex marriage

But despite the defeat of legislation that would have allowed homosexual couples to marry, campaigners are confident this is no dead end.

Share
Fact File
  • 64% Proportion of Australians who supported same-sex marriage in a major poll

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Australia had to swallow the bitter pill of defeat this morning when federal MPs crushed the legislation to change the marriage act. 42 MPs voted in favour of the bill, 98, including the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, voted against.

But despite the manner of the defeat, supporters can take some positives from the campaign. The 42-vote bloc was a significant improvement on the last bill, which got only 6 votes for.

The momentum is with the campaigners and so, it would seem, is public opinion. Earlier this year the House of Representatives conducted a public survey which got over 270,000 responses. Just over 64% of respondents said they supported same-sex marriage. “Maintain your rage,” Stephen Jones, the Labor backbencher who introduced the bill, urged his supporters after the decision came through.

Campaigners can also take solace in the fact that a number of states are moving to legalise same-sex marriage; a bill has already been passed in Tasmania and efforts are underway in South Australia, the ACT and New South Wales.

They can take comfort, but the cold reality is they have lost a hard fought, and not particularly pretty, battle. As is to be expected, ignorance has been unveiled and prejudices revealed along the way.

The Liberal Senator, Cory Bernardi gained notoriety and lost a lot of respect last night when, during a bill on the debate, he implied that legalising same-sex marriage would open the door to polygamy and bestiality. “The next step… is having three people that love each other be able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society he said. “There are even some creepy people out there, who say it’s OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?”

These outdated and repugnant views on homosexuality will strike a familiar chord with campaigners around the world who are locked in a battle against ignorance to get legal and societal recognition for their love. Bernardi today unceremoniously fell on his sword, citing “one mistake too many” but neglected to apologise for his comments.

The bill has, of course, produced much more nuanced debate. The gay Senator, Dean Smith, spoke against the bill and said his vote was, “an honest acknowledgement of the special and unique characteristics of the union described as marriage.” He said the bill divided opinion in the gay Australian community.  

But the most poignant remarks probably came from Finance Minister Penny Wong, whose partner Sophie Allouache gave birth to their daughter last year. She has had to deflect attacks claiming the children of same-sex couples had it worse than those raised in traditional families. “I do not regret that our daughter has Sophie and I as parents,” she said. “I want for her, for all of us, an Australia which is inclusive and respectful, and this is why the campaign will not end here.”

She wants marriage equality and, next time around, it’s likely she may get it.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
‘Would Gary Lineker depart if his pay were halved, and would it affect the quality of MoTD?’  

BBC Me – no Archers, and no Fiona Bruce

DJ Taylor
Feeling the heat: David Cameron last week in Lanzarote  

The parable of the PM and the jellyfish

Joan Smith
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit