Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Tuesday that the government may soon allow gay marriage if the country’s Senate lets the Australian people vote on it come November.
The Liberal Party promised constituents that it would allow gay marriage to be determined via popular vote, but hit several roadblocks in 2016 legislation when the Senate rejected it, fearful of the costs it could incur. These costs included damaging the parties by providing fuel to an already tense debate among liberals and conservatives, and costing the equivalent of $135 million USD to hold a vote, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Turnbull asked the Senate on Tuesday to reconsider an electorate vote, which would be mandatory if the Senate okays the measure. The government indicated it would hold a voluntary vote if the measure fails again. No outcome, however, would require the government to legalize gay marriage, giving its supporters cause to worry since many Australian lawmakers have said they won’t support the vote.
Sen. Cory Bernardi said he would vote against legalizing gay marriage no matter what the outcome of the vote, and Sen. Nick Xenophon also added that the opposing party has not changed its mind since it initially vetoed the vote in October 2016.
“Labor, Green [and] some of the independent senators, as well, have given no signs they’ve changed their mind on it,” John Warhurst, emeritus professor at Australian National University’s School of Politics and International Relations, told CNN.
Those in favor of homosexual marriage, however, insist there are enough lawmakers who support the measure to put gay-marriage into law. “I have other calls on my time as prime minister, but I will certainly support a ‘yes’ vote,” Turnbull told reporters.
“My prediction, and it’s only a prediction, is that in the plebiscite, whichever of the two forms it takes, more people will vote yes than no,” Attorney-General George Brandis told NPR.
An ABC survey shows that most Australians would support gay marriage in a vote.
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