MPs reject gay bill
Australia’s parliament yesterday rejected the government’s proposal for a national vote on whether to legalize same-sex marriage. The upper house Senate voted 33-29 against the coalition government’s bid to hold a plebiscite on the issue. Attorney-General George Brandis introduced the bill into the Senate, where the government does not hold an outright majority, despite expectation the opposition Labor and Greens parties would scupper it. The government has repeatedly warned that a defeat would delay same-sex marriage in Australia for years. Brandis urged the upper house to “stop playing politics with gay people’s lives”. “Get out of the way,” he said in a fiery debate. The opposition said the plebiscite would have sparked harmful debate against the gay and lesbian community and demanded a direct vote in parliament instead. Debate on gay marriage in Australia has gone on for more than a decade and conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hoped to resolve the issue via a plebiscite on February 11.