The Australian Senate on Thursday joined the House of Representatives [official websites] in rejecting legislation to recognize same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] in the nation. The Marriage Amendment Bill [text, PDF], introduced by Senator Trish Crossin [official website], was defeated in the Senate by a margin of 26-41. The vote was held just one day after the House of Representatives voted down similar legislation [JURIST report] the day prior. In a speech [transcript] given when introducing the bill, Crossin argued that "Almost equal is not equal. Discrimination based on sexuality is still discrimination. And refusing to legislate for marriage equality in a secular, egalitarian society such as ours is morally wrong." Same-sex marriage advocates in Australia are expected to re-focus their effort towards recognizing the unions on a state-by-state level.
Same-sex marriage recognition has been a contentious issue both internationally as well as within the US. Thus far in 2012 France, Germany and Scotland [JURIST reports] have all seen new efforts to get same-sex marriages recognized. Earlier this month the US Department of Justice asked the US Supreme Court to consider two more challenges [JURIST report] to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text], which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages. In July a lesbian couple filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website] in a DOMA challenge that seeks to achieve for gay and lesbian couples the same federal immigration rights afforded to heterosexual couples [JURIST report].