Federal Parliament Overwhelmingly Votes Down Proposals
SEPT. 24, 2012 (Zenit.org). – Two proposals to legalize same-sex
marriage in the Australian federal parliament last week were strongly
On Sept. 19 the House of Representatives voted on a
proposal by backbencher Stephen Jones, of the Australian Labor Party,
the party currently in power at the federal level, to legalize same-sex
The Labor Party allowed a free vote on the proposal, while the
coalition of opposition parties, led by Tony Abbott, held to their
promise of voting against any attempt to introduce same-sex “marriage.”
The vote was 42 in favour of legalization and 98 against. Both Prime
Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott voted against
"The overwhelming vote in the House of Representatives in favour of
marriage between a man and a woman is greatly welcomed," says Chris
Meney, director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage and Family
Centre. "It is also a vote affirming the truth of how marriage has
always been understood," he commented in a news story published on the
Web site of the Archdiocese of Sydney.
"Given the broad consultation over a significant period and the
number of bills which have been introduced on this issue it is to be
hoped our elected representatives will now be free to devote the
necessary time to other issues which are of importance to all
Australians," Meney commented.
The following day another vote on same-sex marriage was held in the
Australian Senate, and again it was overwhelmingly defeated, by 41 to
Among those speaking against the Senate initiative was Labor senator
John Hogg, who is the President of the Senate. As a report by the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation noted, he rarely speaks during
debates on legislation, but he did speak out on this issue.
"I have a deep-seated belief that marriage is between a man and a woman exclusively," he said.
"I utterly reject the offensive language of some of those supporting
the bill that people who share my views are discriminatory or
homophobic,” he added.
"This is absolutely nonsense of the first order and is a desperate
resort to try and isolate those who don't share their views," the Senate
The votes followed what Paul Kelly, political commentator for the
Australian newspaper, called a two year intense campaign by the Green
Party, half the Labor Party, the gay lobby and progressive media in
favour of same-sex “marriage.”
“Australia is now consigned to a lengthy culture war over same-sex marriage,” he added in his Sept. 22 commentary.
Despite the two votes in federal parliament the debate on same-sex
“marriage” in Australia is far from over, with the focus turning to the
The lower house of parliament in Tasmania has already voted in favour
of same-sex “marriage” and this week it will be voted on by the upper
house. The outcome of the vote is uncertain, given that the majority of
the members of the upper house are independents.
Proponents of same-sex “marriage” have also said they will introduce
initiatives in the state parliaments of South Australia and New South
The situation is further complicated by a debate over the
constitutionality of state vs. federal laws regarding marriage.
Commentators agree that any state law allowing same-sex “marriage” will
be challenged in the High Court of Australia.
There are also concerns that any approval of same-sex “marriage” will create a church-state conflict.
“Changing the Marriage Act would, in practice, compel Catholics and
other faith communities to recognise and accept same-sex marriage in
their schools, charities, social welfare, health care and adoption
services,” warned Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell in a submission he made
in a Senate committee inquiry on the issue of same-sex “marriage.”