Australia’s House of Representatives has just voted on Stephen Jones’ Private Members Bill for marriage equality – only 42 MPs voted in favour, with 98 against.
Among those who voted in favour of the Bill were Tanya Plibersek, Craig Thomson, Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt, Rob Oakeshott, Bill Shorten, Peter Garrett, Nicola Roxon, Jenny Macklin, Stephen Smith and Anthony Albanese, who said in an interview after the vote that one day when the measure does pass, people will wonder what all the fuss was about.
Voting against were Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey, Bob Katter, Wayne Swan, Tony Windsor and Craig Emerson among many others.
Labor MP Stephen Jones, who championed the Bill, said he was disappointed but suggested supporters of marriage equality “maintain your rage,” adding that the measure will go through within a few years.
Though there are other Bills before Federal Parliament, including being debated in the Senate this week, many supporters of marriage equality realise the chances of any advancing are slim at this stage.
But with several states – including Tasmania, South Australia, ACT, Victoria, Western Australia and now New South Wales – now will their own efforts to legalise same-sex marriage, some believe gay couples will be marrying on Australian soil by the end of the year.
“Even though the House of Representatives has voted down marriage equality 98 to 42, more MPs have chosen the right side of history than ever before and we are confident support will only grow,” points out marriage equality advocate Alex Greenwich.
“The reasoned speeches in favour, and the extremist statements against, will help to ensure the next time this issue is voted on there will be far more support for equality.”
“Now the federal parliament has effectively brushed the wishes of a majority of Australians aside, the states and territories will take the lead, making me confident we will see same-sex marriages performed somewhere in Australia by the end of the year.”