EIGHTEEN senators will spend most of today debating the Plebiscite (Same Sex Marriage) Bill in parliament.
Four senators have already spoken in support of the bill, and fourteen have and will continue to speak against it later today.
The senators who have spoken in support are senators Back, Macdonald, Ryan and Leyonhjelm; those who have spoken against include Senators Wong, Rice, and Hanson-Young.
Arguments in favour of the plebiscite consisted of the belief that the Australian public will refrain from bigotry and hate speech in the lead-up to a plebiscite; arguments against challenged this belief.
Senator Hanson-Young summarised the feelings of many in the LGBTI community when she said the the issue has been used as a political football.
“I would argue that no one, and no one side, is immune from that criticism,” she said.
Liberal Senator from Western Australia Dean Smith, the only member of the Coalition who has openly stated his opposition to the bill, also argued against the bill.
He asked his fellow senators if they really want to be the first generation of modern parliamentarians to say they are not capable of resolving difficult issues and described the plebiscite as an “abdication” of parliamentary responsibility, and “foreign” to constitutional tradition.
Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald claimed that “clearly there is no discrimination against same-sex couples and hasn’t been for many years now”.