Same-Sex Marriage in Australia? It's Complicated.
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64 percent of all Australians support same-sex marriage. The prime minister of Australia supports same-sex marriage. Both the Labor and the Green parties support same-sex marriage.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Pass it into law and move on.
Not so fast.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (photo) supports marriage equality but insists the citizens of Australia should vote on it – despite years of polls that show strong majority support, even among people of faith. That vote, a new report shows, would cost nearly $400 million (US) in both actual costs and related economic costs, including lost productivity and emotional impact.
And Turnbull, head of the Liberal Party, refuses to let members of his party vote in favor of same-sex marriage because he's insistent on a national plebiscite.
On Thursday, however, the Australian Senate is expected to vote on a bill to extend marriage to same-sex couples.
Sounds like a promising step forward, right?
"Even if passed, the proposal will go nowhere as the government will use its House of Representatives numbers to negate the Senate vote, and proceed with its policy of a plebiscite after the next election," Australia's news.com.au reports.
"And a big defeat of the motion, with Labor senators using a free vote, could damage the broad campaign for same-sex marriage."
Additionally, in Australia, lawmakers are not always allowed a "conscience vote," meaning they can be obligated to vote as their party instructs.
In short, it's complicated, and it looks for now like some politicians are forgetting that marriage is about family, and they're standing in the way of the civil rights of same-sex couples.
Some responses via Twitter:
Underwhelmed gay marriage is being used today YET AGAIN as a football by Australia's politicians. Stop kicking the crap out of us. #auspol— Luke Miller (@dodgyville) March 15, 2016
Improbably, a good meme. pic.twitter.com/kQEoasHwjP— Paul Kidd (@paulkidd) March 15, 2016
Image by US Department of Defense via Wikimedia