Same-sex marriage is ~once again~ at the forefront of debate in Canberra after the issue was dragged into the senate voting reform fracas on Tuesday.
TL;DR... Senator David Leyonhjelm tried to bring forward debate on a Greens marriage equality bill to stymie passage of senate voting reforms he doesn't want. If passed, the motion would have meant marriage *had* to be voted on before the Senate stops sitting on Thursday.
But the Greens support the senate voting reforms, so they voted with the Coalition against the marriage bill being debated. And then the Greens said let's just discuss it on Thursday instead, during private senator's time.
In a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News, Greens senators Richard Di Natale and Robert Simms asked Labor senator Penny Wong to move the debate to a vote on Thursday.
The letter points out that the bill was debated in the senate in November last year and assures Wong that the Greens will support Labor moving for a vote.
Senator Richard Di Natale told the senate that a vote could happen this week. "Let us ensure the passage of legislation this week," he said. "We can get it done."
Other Greens MPs joined the call for a vote on Thursday – some in ways more pointed than others.
Indeed, if Labor, the Greens and various independent senators band together, marriage equality could pass the senate. It would be an historic moment for the reform, which has never gotten up in either house before.
But yeah that's not going to happen.
The hour of private senator's time – which Labor yesterday agreed to give to the Greens – will allow for just three speakers.
Debate would then have to be gagged in order to bring the bill to a vote. And for an issue like same-sex marriage, which has been debated for *literal years* with no resolution, such a gagging would not get voted up by either major party.
Labor leader in the Senate Penny Wong told Radio National that a vote on Thursday was pretty damn unlikely.
Wong said if the Greens wanted to discuss reconsidering their position from yesterday – i.e. locking in a debate on marriage that would be thorough and lead to a vote – then they could talk.
But in short... yeah nah it's not going to happen. Back to your knitting and plebiscite-planning, people!
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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