BY DANIELA COSTA – A motion to stop Australia’s federal government from challenging state same-sex marriage laws has failed in parliament.
Sarah Hanson-Young, a Greens senator, forwarded the motion on Oct 11. Senate defeated it by 38 votes to 10.
“The Gillard government refused to let the states get on with the business of representing the majority of Australian people who support marriage equality without the fear of a legal challenge from the Commonwealth,” Hanson-Young said.
Hanson-Young said the federal government was keeping states in the dark as to the legality of same-sex marriage reforms, the AAP reports.
According to Hanson-Young, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who opposes legalizing same-sex marriage, is impeding reform. “The prime minister stood in the way when the vote was before the federal government and now, by not ruling out a Commonwealth challenge of state legislation, Julia Gillard is choosing to further hinder this inevitable reform.”
In September, the House of Representatives and the Senate defeated similar bills.
That same month, the Tasmanian upper house voted against same-sex marriage legislation. A majority of the objections were based on concerns that Australia’s High Court could challenge Tasmania regarding the bill’s constitutionality. The bill could return if a parliamentary committee is established to examine legal concerns.
The South Australian Greens have a same-sex marriage bill before parliament. Both the Labor party and the coalition have indicated they will allow their members a conscience vote on the issue.
Politicians have also tabled same-sex marriage bills in Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territories.