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Australian Senate rejects public vote on gay marriage

Canberra: Australia’s Senate has rejected a government plan to hold a public vote on recognizing gay marriage.

The Senate voted by a margin of 33 to 29 late yesterday against the non-binding public plebiscite on same-sex marriage which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s conservative government had planned to hold on Feb. 11.

Marriage equality opponents had supported the plan while most gay marriage advocates had opposed it, warning it would spark a divisive public debate.

A lesbian opposition senator Penny Wong had argued against the vote, telling parliament it would denigrate her family. Most marriage equality advocates want Parliament to decide the issue without a public vote. The government has yet to say whether it will allow lawmakers to decide whether same-sex marriages will be recognized.