A gay marriage bill in the Australian
Senate was killed Thursday with a decisive blow.
Only five senators voted in favor of
giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, while 45
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
introduced the bill last year.
Lawmakers have previously debated
marriage equality, but Hanson-Young's bill was the first to take on
Australia's Marriage Act.
Before voting, Hanson-Young told the
Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) that she hoped major parties
would allow their members to vote their conscience on the issue.
“But of course that's up to them.
Unfortunately, we have both major parties led by conservative men who
have outdated views, ideological views on this issue,” she said.
“I would like to think that members
within their own caucuses are strong enough to say, 'Hey, we want to
vote how we think on this issue. This is a matter of importance to
us',” she added.
In the end, only the Greens voted in
favor of the measure. Hanson-Young called the absence of nearly a
third of the senators a “protest” vote.
“There may have been a group of
senators voting to keep discrimination against same-sex couples being
able to marry the one they love, but well over one-third of all
senators were absent for the final vote, presumably the only form of
protest open to them,” she said.
The defeat comes just days before
Sydney's giant gay pride Mardi Gras this weekend.