UK vote inspires Australian Greens to put forward another marriage bill

Australia’s Greens party will put forward another bill to introduce marriage equality after being inspired by a successful vote on the issue in the British House of Commons

UK vote inspires Australian Greens to put forward another marriage bill
06 February 2013

The Australian Greens say a successful vote on marriage equality in the British House of Commons has inspired them to move forward with another bill on marriage equality despite previous bills being defeated in the Parliament when the Australian Opposition refused its members a conscience vote.

The House of Commons passed its bill on Tuesday in a vote of 400 to 175 votes.

Greens deputy leader and Australian House of Representatives member Adam Bandt made the announcement today, telling a press conference that the British vote showed that Australian politicians were on ‘the wrong side of history.’

‘If Catholic Spain can allow people to marry each other regardless of their gender, if Britain can do it, if the president of the United States of America thinks it is time to change, then [Prime Minister] Julia Gillard and [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott should back it as well,’ Bandt said.

‘This is a matter of not if, but when.’

Bandt’s sentiments were echoed on Twitter by Stephen Jones, a member of parliament in the ruling Labor Party who has previously moved a marriage equality bill of his own.

‘#marriageequality in UK shows their party called Conservative acting like liberals. In Oz a party called Liberal acts like conservatives,’ Jones tweeted

‘I think David Cameron’s argument about equality & commitment is a credible argument for conservatives to base marriage equality.’

The Greens and Jones’ bills were defeated in both houses of the Australian Parliament last September after government MPs and senators were allowed to vote with their consciences but opposition MPs and senators were not despite calls by high profile opponents and supporters within the opposition Liberal Party and National Party coalition.

The Greens are hopeful that opposition supporters of a conscience vote can persuade Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to allow a free vote on the issue before Australians go to the polls on September 14.

Abbott is a staunch Catholic who has promised Christian groups that same-sex marriage will not be passed on his watch but the Liberals policy document for this year’s election is silent on the issue.

Pro-same-sex marriage lobby group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) welcomed the British vote and the announcement by the Greens.

‘The majority of Australians who support marriage equality will be pleased to see such resounding support from a country with which we share so much, but this will be tinged with embarrassment that Australia is falling further behind and may soon be the only developed, English-speaking country without marriage equality,’
AME national convener, Rodney Croome said.

‘The fact David Cameron has allowed a conscience vote increases pressure on Tony Abbott to do the same, especially given that a conscience vote is about personal freedom and marriage equality is about strengthening families – both principles which conservatives should support.

‘The UK vote also highlights how, by continuing to oppose marriage equality, our Labor Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is not only out-of-step with her center-left colleagues overseas, but even her conservative counterparts.

‘We call on both Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard to show leadership and stop holding Australia back.’

Croome said that marrying in Britain would be popular for Australians given the number who were dual Australian/British citizens and residents or who were in dual nationality relationships.

‘Given the many British nationals who live in Australia we are likely to see a rush a couples to marry under the new legislation, including those couples who are already in UK civil partnerships and will be able to convert these to marriages,’ Croome said.

‘It is sad that these couples will not have their marriages recognized under the law of the country they live in.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Malaysian gay activist to Obama: LGBTs are not political pawns

'Obama wants to appear to his own people, and to the rest of the world, as the leader of the free world. It is easy for him to perform USA's moral leadership globally by supporting rights issues elsewhere. But why should Obama have the moral imperative to support local rights issues elsewhere?'
No thumbnail available

Girl Scouts welcomes trans girls

American Family Association launches petition against 'boys in skirts' joining
No thumbnail available

Stockholm wins destination prize at LGBT Awards

Swedish capital recognized for reaching out to LGBTI travellers
No thumbnail available

German and EU foreign ministers slam Russia on gay rights

The foreign ministers of Germany and the European Union criticized Russia’s draft bill banning ‘homosexual propaganda’
No thumbnail available

Northern Cyprus faces legal challenge to gay ban

A legal challenge has been lodged at the European Court of Human Rights to repeal laws criminalising homosexuality in Northern Cyprus
No thumbnail available

Pat Robertson suggests being molested at school makes you gay

US evangelist Pat Robertson has told a viewer to ask her 16-year-old gay son if he has been molested at school in understanding his sexuality but also admits it could be a biological thing
No thumbnail available

Guard shot at anti-gay Family Research Council headquarters

LGBT organizations are quick to denounce Washington DC shooting
No thumbnail available

Greens Party will move bill to recognize overseas same-sex marriages in Australia

The Australian Greens Party will move a bill which aims to ensure overseas same-sex marriages are recognized in Australia and will be screening an election TV commercial urging supporters of marriage equality to vote for the party
No thumbnail available

Delaware church removes anti-marriage equality sign after complaints

A church in Delaware that put up an electronic billboard that appeared to be critical of same-sex marriage has taken it down and said its message had been misinterpreted but its pastor’s own statements online prove otherwise
No thumbnail available

DJ refuses to play gay man's birthday party, compares it to hosting KKK dance

'It would be like a synagogue having to cater to a neo-Nazi party'