No Australia referendum for same-sex marriage

Nov 11, 2016

The Bill advocating a public vote on redefining marriage in Australia has been blocked.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had intended to hold a plebiscite in February 2017 but on Monday the Bill was rejected in the Senate by 33 votes to 29.

Campaigners against same-sex marriage responded by calling on politicians to now focus on other issues.

Australian political analyst Nick Economou said: “There has been an excessive preoccupation with a small number of social-policy issues. Maybe the government can now get on with what the voters want them to do”.

As in the UK, the push to redefine marriage in Australia has been hugely controversial. Serious concerns have been raised about the impact on free speech, given the UK’s experience some being branded ‘homophobes’ simply for disagreeing with same-sex marriage.

In a discussion last year on Australian TV, Brendan O’Neill, the Editor of online magazine Spiked, argued that although advocates for same-sex marriage like to present it as a liberal civil-rights issue, in reality it has a “really ugly, intolerant streak to it”.

“Anyone who opposes gay marriage is demonised, harassed. We’ve seen people thrown out of their jobs because they criticise gay marriage,” he said.

“Within the space of a decade, something that humanity believed for thousands of years has suddenly become a form of bigotry, a form of hate”.