AUSTRALIA: New Hope For Marriage Equality Bill

Australia’s News Corp outlet reports:

Malcolm Turnbull today cleared the way for a Liberal bill legalising same-sex marriage by endorsing the right of back benchers to offer their own legislation. The Prime Minister moved from a strict insistence that Coalition policy was to hold a plebiscite on the Marriage Act change before any legislation entered Parliament.

An increasing number of Liberal MPs are calling for the matter to be settled in Parliament — possibly through a private member’s bill which could be introduced mid-August — and the Prime Minister indicated to block them would be authoritarian.

“In our party, backbenchers have always had the right to cross the floor,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Perth. “In the Labor Party you get expelled for doing that, but it has always been a fundamental principle in the Liberal Party and indeed the National Party.”

More from ABC News:

MPs return from the winter break next week and some are determined to see the law changed quickly. Some Coalition MPs believe the deadlock on same-sex marriage is overshadowing the rest of the Government’s agenda.

They are discussing ways to deal with the marriage issue — arguing that ending the standoff would help the Government move on to other topics. Federal Liberal MP Trevor Evans told the ABC a vote in Parliament would be the quickest and most efficient way to deal with the issue.

Mr Evans, who is gay, said he would raise the issue when the Coalition party room meets next week. But that discussion is likely to provoke a fierce response from Coalition figures who oppose same-sex marriage or who believe the Government should stick to its pledge to have a plebiscite.

And from the Sydney Morning Herald:

An absolute majority of 76 is required to bring on a vote in the House of Representatives. That means the Labor Party would need four Liberal MPs to cross the floor to succeed in interrupting the scheduled business of Parliament to bring forward the private members’ bill.

Liberal MPs Mr Evans, Warren Entsch, Tim Wilson and Trent Zimmerman are all likely candidates to cross the floor. The government does not hold a majority in the Senate.

The push to force a free vote would cause a major dispute within the Coalition party room and potentially threaten Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership. Mr Turnbull supports gay marriage and a free vote but agreed to continue the policy to hold a plebiscite as part of his deal to take over the prime ministership from Mr Abbott.

  • Tawreos

    Good luck Australia!

  • Bluto

    Screwing around with civil rights for political purposes is nothing short of evil. Fuck the assholes playing this game, especially turnbull.

  • Joe in PA

    But..but…plebiscite.

    • Tawreos

      Plebiscite always looks and sounds like something one should see a dermatologist about.

      • BudClark

        Human rights should NEVER be voted upon. Athens had “pure” democracy; they voted to execute SOCRATES.

        • Publius

          Socrates had a jury trial, and he accepted the result. It’s quite a lovely story on its own, but compared to marriage equality in 2017 Australia, it’s apples and oranges.

    • Ninja0980

      Non binding one at that.

    • NowVoyager

      A nationwide equivalent of a High School popularity poll to determine Human Rights is not a civilized way to run a country. The Aussies now have the dubious distinction of being the last major English-speaking country without Marriage Equality. Very shameful.

  • bkmn
    • Bluto

      Top row, 3rd from left, is that a Pygmy?
      Pygmy power!

      • Rex

        Bottom row, second from right – a bell? Lego?

    • fuow

      This is one of the clearest statements of the matter I have ever seen.

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  • Rex

    Come on, just do it. The florists and bakers are anxious to start refusing service.

  • Ninja0980

    As mentioned before, the plebiscite isn’t binding and many of the bigots (including one who has a gay brother) have made it clear if the public votes for this 100%, they will still vote no on any legislation brought to the floor.
    Enough is enough, bring the bill to the floor, let people vote how they want and join the 21st Century when it comes to equality.

    • Jamie Wilson

      That’s false. A few members have said they would vote “no” regardless of the plebiscite, but the vast majority would follow the results. And even if the entire plebiscite was a waste and everyone voted their conscience, it would still pass. The point is to get to a vote. So if the plebiscite is a hoop that the Liberals want in order to get to a vote, the obvious solution is to jump through that hoop and get to a vote and get it passed. But Labour doesn’t want that to happen. They don’t want marriage equality on Turbull’s watch. They want credit for it themselves, so they block the plebiscite so that nothing can move forward. And they rely on “process queens” like you to abet them in their delaying tactic.

  • Gustav2

    C’mon Australia, Snoopy wants to dance!

  • The New Paige Turner™

    Liberal MPs Mr Evans, Warren Entsch, Tim Wilson and Trent Zimmerman are all likely candidates…

    Only one of them is straight, the rest are “likely candidates”

    It Could work.

    Plus the debate to become a Republic and have our own head of state is back on the agenda.

  • Publius

    You should not be able to vote on rights. But Labor is gambling with monopoly money. If Parliament decided on a plebiscite, then gays everywhere in the civilized world would support Australia’s gay community. They should just do it, and do it now.

  • JWC

    Just do it already