Slow Going on Australian Marriage Equality Vote

Even if opponents of marriage equality agree to a conscience vote, some backers think legislation would still fail.

BY Julie Bolcer

June 18 2012 12:20 PM ET

An Australian parliamentary committee released a report on marriage equality legislation Monday, but backers appeared to be in no hurry to vote on two bills under consideration.

The committee released its report after a public inquiry that generated a record 276,000 responses, nearly two thirds of which were in support of marriage equality, according to the Australian Associated Press. Although the cross-party committee declined to recommend or reject the marriage equality bills, the individual members weighed in, with three in support, four against, and one undeclared.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said he had no plans to rush a vote on his bill until more support could be secured. He told the AAP that he believed opposition leader Tony Abbott could be convinced to hold a conscience vote, which would match the policy adopted by the Labor Party last year.

Graham Perrett, the committee chairman, said that he believed lawmakers would reject marriage equality even if Abbott allowed the conscience vote, according to the Associated Press. Perrett, a Labor MP, supports marriage equality and has two gay brothers.

Labor MP Stephen Jones said he expected a vote on his bill later this year.

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