Australian opposition rejects vote on same-sex marriage

The Australian opposition Labor Party said on Tuesday that they have decided to block the government's plan for the public vote on legalising same-sex marriage.

The opposition, which backs same-sex marriage, has argued that they believe a public vote is unnecessary and that the issue should be decided in Parliament, according to opposition leader Bill Shorten.

"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," Shorten told reporters.

The Labor Party also argued that having a public vote would would trigger a controversial public debate and will be a waste of taxpayers money.

“Labor wants to achieve marriage equality in the fastest, cheapest, least harmful way possible. That's why we want a free vote in Parliament.” Shorten said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s conservative government needed the support of the Labor Party in order to enable legislation through the Senate to be able to hold a national vote on gay marriage on February 11.

Despite the lack of support from the Labor Party, Turnbull says that the idea of a plebiscite is not dead. The enabling bill will still be voted on in the Senate after it is passed this week by the House of Representatives. He has urged senators to support the bill and "give the people their say,” according to local media Sky News.

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