Rebel lawmakers reignite same-sex marriage debate in Australia

Rebel Liberal MP Dean Smith drafted a bill which would make same-sex marriage legal in Australia, but allow celebrants to refuse to marry whoever they wished.

The government would not introduce this bill under their current policy, but Smith can introduce it on his own as a private member’s bill. If the bill was to then reach the floor of parliament, the five Liberal politicians have warned they could join the opposition to vote in favor of it.

Despite broad support for same-sex marriage among Australians, successive governments have failed to pass legislation due to opposition from conservative politicians.

The ruling Liberal Party has said since 2015 it wants to let the Australian people choose in a national vote, while the opposition Labor Party wants it be directly legislated by parliament, saying a plebiscite is unnecessary, too costly and traumatic for the LGBT community.

The United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, France and the United States are among the nations who have already legislated in favor of same-sex marriage.

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