Tuesday, November 08, 2016

No hate referendum in Australia

Australians support marriage equality. But their bigoted government doesn't. And rather than accept that society has moved on from the 1950's and legislating accordingly, they've been insisting that equality will only happen if they can hold a giant bigot hatefest and dodge responsibility for it via a referendum (or "plebiscite" as they call it over there). But now, that plan has gone down in flames:

The Turnbull government's proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage has formally been killed off by the Senate, where it was defeated 29-33 in a late-night vote on Monday, amid a warning the decision would delay marriage equality "for years".

Months of speculation and political posturing culminated in Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch combining to defeat the proposal, which would have seen same-sex marriage decided by the Australian people in February.

The decision - an inevitability since Labor pledged to oppose the plebiscite four weeks ago - will force a new conversation about marriage equality that will divide the Coalition and threatens to destabilise the Turnbull government.

Good. Fundamental rights should not be subject to the votes of bigots. And now the only option is for Parliament to do its job and legislate. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull once supported that path; now he opposes it in order to pander to bigots in his caucus.