Gay marriage in Australia hits snag

The Australian government’s plan to hold a popular vote on whether Australia should allow same-sex marriage suffered a setback today when a political party announced it would not support the proposed plebiscite.

Even if most Australians voted for same-sex marriage, conservative government lawmakers could still block the reform in Parliament.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull agreed to hold the referendum in a deal with gay marriage opponents within his party in return for their backing in the internal leadership ballot that toppled Prime Minister Tony Abbott a year ago. Turnbull, a gay marriage advocate, had previously spoken out against such a public vote that could create painful divisions in Australian society.