The defeat of the gay marriage bill in both houses of Parliament by overwhelming numbers puts an end to the argument for the time being.
The numbers are simply not there to pursue the matter further.
That was acknowledged by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young yesterday after the Senate vote. She has a similar bill ready for roll out but said it will be put to one side.
She and others, however, believe it will only be a matter of time before
parliamentary numbers will support same-sex marriage.
“The next time marriage equality is put to a vote in the Senate, we will win,” she proclaimed.
Similar words were used when the Australian people voted against their country becoming a republic. That was 13 years ago and the word republic has hardly been uttered since.
But perhaps this issue should not be decided by the Parliament. With two strong opposing opinions across Australia, perhaps it should be the subject of a further referendum sometime in the future.
The reality is, however, the majority of Australians do not favour same-sex marriage being equivalent to the traditional marriage of a man and a woman.
That’s why it has been left to the Parliament to decide. Those promoting the bill knew Parliament was the best chance for victory.
Of greater significance, is a Labor proposal to ask federal Parliament to pass an Act of Recognition of Aboriginal People.
This, it says, is an interim measure to an eventual referendum to amend the constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia to have Aboriginal people formally acknowledged as being the traditional owners of the continent.
This is an important first step and is worthy of the Parliament’s support.
But with history showing Australians tend to vote against referendum questions, it too could be sometime before a final vote is taken.
That aside, the Aboriginal people and their place in Australia’s history should be recognised.