The Australian opposition has announced it will block a proposed public vote on whether to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

The government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month introduced legislation that would set up a February 11 plebiscite, similar to a referendum. While the result is non-binding, the government has said it will abide by what the people say. The legislation sets aside 15 million Australian dollars ($11 million) to be divided up equality between supporters and opponents of LGBT rights.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Tuesday that Labor lawmakers would not support the plebiscite.

Shorten, who supports marriage equality, said the plebiscite would trigger a divisive public debate and that Parliament should decide the issue.

“This country does not have the right in a plebiscite to pass judgment on the marriages and relationships of some of our fellow Australians. It is not what Australia is about,” he told reporters.

Turnbull called on the Labor Party to support the bill “and give the people their say.”

LGBT rights activists applauded the news.

“That is a move that indeed reflects the views of the gay and lesbian community who now want the debate about a plebiscite put behind us,” Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, told reporters.

(Related: Australians support gay marriage but not public vote on issue.)