19 Sep 2012

Australian MPs reject same sex marriage

9:58 pm on 19 September 2012

The Australian House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted against legislation that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry.

Just 42 MPs supported the private members bill put forward by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones, while 98 MPs voted against, the ABC reports.

Labor MPs had been given a conscience vote on the legislation, but Coalition MPs were expected to follow the party's position on the issue, which does not allow for any change to marriage laws.

The vote was held not long after it was announced that Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi had resigned as a parliamentary secretary over comments he made linking gay marriage to sex with animals.

However, Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who backed the legislation, says the vote shows there has been significant progress towards legalising gay marriage.

"Just a few years ago there wouldn't have been the support of anything like 42 votes on the floor of the national Parliament for a marriage equality bill," Mr Albanese told reporters soon after the vote.