A legislative bill to legalize gay marriage that was sponsored by a member of Australia’s Labor Party has been roundly defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 98 – 42. Both the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, of the Labor Party, and former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, also of Labor, voted against legalizing same-sex marriage. It would appear that many people down under, and in fact many folks from around the globe, are balking at the prospect of redefining the concept of marriage to include same-sex couples.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott sat on the same side of the chamber to vote against the private bill, proposed by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones. Labor allowed its members a conscience vote on the issue – meaning they did not have to all vote in the same way – but the coalition did not.
The government’s front bench was split on the vote, with Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan and cabinet minister Chris Bowen voting with the coalition to oppose the bill. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd also voted to defeat the legislation. Ministers who voted for the bill included Peter Garrett, Nicola Roxon, Jenny Macklin, Anthony Albanese, Greg Combet, Tanya Plibersek, Kate Ellis, Bill Shorten, and Gary Gray.
Independent MP Tony Windsor voted against the bill while Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie voted for it. (The Australian)