The Greens Will Try And Stop The Marriage Equality Plebiscite From Going Ahead

It's looking less and less likely that we'll have a plebiscite.

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The Greens have decided to vote against legislation that would allow a plebiscite on marriage equality to be held. The party’s leader, Richard Di Natale, and LGBTI spokesperson Janet Rice declared that the plebiscite would be “dangerous” for the LGBTI community and have called for a free vote for all MPs.

During the election campaign the Greens left open the possibility of supporting a plebiscite as a way to resolve the issue once and for all. But more recently they have declared the proposal “pointless”.

For a plebiscite to actually get up and running the government needs to pass enabling legislation through both houses of the parliament. As it currently stands, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and Senator Derryn Hinch are all opposed to the plebiscite. If Labor decides to oppose the plebiscite the legislation will likely be defeated in the Senate.

Labor hasn’t confirmed what it will do yet, but two Labor senators have called on the party to block any attempt to hold a plebiscite. It’s not clear what the next step would be for same-sex marriage if a plebiscite wasn’t held. If all MPs were given a free vote on the issue the legislation would easily pass through both houses of parliament. But Malcolm Turnbull has so far refused to grant Coalition MPs a free vote.

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Today’s announcement from the Greens is likely to increase pressure on Labor to block the plebiscite from going ahead. If that happens, it’s likely Turnbull will become the focus of marriage equality activists, who will be demanding a free vote.

The Greens announced their decision on Wear It Purple Day, an initiative created to help show support to young LGBTI Australians.

Feature image via the NSW Greens.