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Australian Lawmakers Reject Popular Vote on Marriage, Push for Action by Parliament

Australian Lawmakers Reject Popular Vote on Marriage, Push for Action by Parliament

AP Photo

A voice vote in the Australian Senate has thrown the issue of settling marriage equality back in the prime minister's lap.

Australia's Senate is urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (pictured above) to skip plans to hold a costly national nonbinding referendum and instead introduce a vote in Parliament on the issue of same-sex marriage, the Australian Associated Press reports.

"Australians don't want another opinion poll on this issue. They want the Parliament to legislate," said Sen. Robert Simms, the Green Party's representative on LGBTI issues and marriage equality.

Opponents of holding a popular vote, also known as a plebiscite, fear such an election would only give homophobes a new platform to spew their anti-LGBT hate, according to Gay News Network.

Despite pressure to allow lawmakers to decide the issue, Turnbull has stood by his predecessor Tony Abbott's plan to hold a referendum.

The motion to reject a plebiscite was introduced by Simms and passed on a voice vote with no precise count taken, but a loud, clear majority voted in favor. The proposal now goes to the House of Representatives, which could accept or reject it.

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