After Australian Prime Minister Denies Parliament Conscience Vote, HRC Asks: What Are You Afraid of?

by HRC Staff

HRC joins with Australian Marriage Equality in expressing disappointment and anger at Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s latest political stunt: overriding the nearly three-quarters of Australians who believe in marriage equality by denying Members of Parliament the right to vote according to their own conscience on national marriage equality legislation. Prime Minister Abbott met with members of the governing coalition who determined that party members will be forced to vote according to party lines, even if they wish to support marriage equality legislation. Though Prime Minister Tony Abbott remains a staunch opponent of marriage equality, members of his own party support the proposal and were expected to cross party lines if a conscience vote had been allowed.

“Political machinations and loopholes will not prevent the arc of justice from bending towards equality,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global. “While today the global marriage movement faced a setback, the momentum for marriage equality continues to build across Australia and we are confident that ultimately, love will win. HRC will continue to stand alongside Australian Marriage Equality to ensure that loving, committed LGBT couples and their families across Australia have the same rights and protections as everyone else.”

HRC has worked closely with Australian Marriage Equality and other advocates on the ground as they fight to make Australia the next country to open its doors to same-sex marriage.  In July, senior-level HRC staff traveled to Australia to meet with activists and advocates, sharing their own experiences and lending their support and advice.

"Clearly, opponents of marriage equality in the Coalition know they don't have the numbers on the floor of the House, or they wouldn't be so scared of a free vote,"said Australian Marriage Equality National Director Rodney Croome. "You can't stop love, and if this Parliament fails to achieve marriage equality, we will make sure the next one will."

On Sunday, Australian Marriage Equality launched a robust and innovative campaign to win the fight for marriage equality, using social media, television ads, and other elements to share a message of love and support for same-sex couples.  As legislators returned to Canberra, the capital of Australia, they were welcomed with a clear message at the airport: a terminal lit up in rainbow colors and a huge sign broadcasting “#WeCanDoThis.”

The situation for LGBT people around the world varies widely. As some countries embrace equality, in others, LGBT people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution, and violence.

·         19 countries  now have marriage equality.

·         In 10 countries worldwide, same-sex activity is punishable by death, and  75 countries criminalize same-sex relationships. And, hundreds of transgender individuals have been brutally murdered in the last year.

·         In a growing number of countries, governments have sought to silence equality advocates and organizations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and legislation.

Learn more about how the Human Rights Campaign is taking action and working with allies around the world to make a difference at:


Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email