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by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Australia’s Senate rejected a measure to legalize same-sex marriage Feb. 26. The vote was 5-45. Twenty-six senators failed to vote.
The bill, introduced by the Greens, was opposed by the Labor, Family First and Liberal/National/Country Liberal Coalition parties.
“The Coalition believes the (opposite-sex) definition of marriage, as contained in the existing provisions of the Marriage Act, reflects the standards and mores of contemporary Australia,” said Liberal Sen. George Brandis.
The organization Australian Marriage Equality denounced the vote and vowed to make same-sex marriage an election issue.
“It is arrogant of (Prime Minister) Kevin Rudd and (Liberal leader) Tony Abbott to ignore the 60 percent of Australians who, opinion polls show, support same-sex marriage,” said AME National Convener Alex Greenwich.
“However, the fact that 26 senators were absent from today’s debate is an indication that there is dissent in the ranks of the major parties, dissent which we believe will only grow. Because the leaders of the major parties are clearly deaf to the wishes of mainstream Australia, we have no choice but to make this an election issue when the nation goes to the polls later this year,” Greenwich said.
AME said “there’s no such thing as half equal” and criticized same-sex “relationship registers” as conferring an unacceptable second-class status.
A Galaxy poll released last June found that 60 percent of Australians support same-sex marriage, including 64 percent of Labor voters and 50 percent of Coalition voters.