For the second consecutive day, Australian legislators turned down a same-sex marriage bill in the Senate on Thursday. On a 26-41 vote, the lawmakers said no to a similar bill earlier rejected by MPs on Wednesday on a 42-98 vote.
The Senate bill was authored by Senator Trish Crossin. After the defeat, Coalition leader Tony Abbott said the two straight rejections is a clear signal from the current Parliament that such a controversial measure has no chances of being approved into law.
Senate President John Hogg attributed the loss of the bill in the upper chamber to long-held belief among senators that a marriage is only between a man and a woman, not between two people of the same gender.
Labor frontbencher Penny Wong described the Thursday vote as Parliament failing Australians.
"Sadly, the Opposition was not allowed a conscience vote on this very important issue and I believe that, had Mr Abbott shown some leadership and allowed a free vote, the result may have been much different," Perth Now quoted Ms Wong.
However, Rodney Croome, national convenor of Australian Marriage Equality, said one heartening fact with the Thursday vote was that the number of senators who favoured gay unions increased fourfold from only six senators who voted for same-sex marriages in 2009.
Mr Abbott admitted he is a bit conflicted on the issue since he has a lesbian sister Chris with whom he had heartful discussions on the matter.
Meanwhile, Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who was forced to resign from his parliament post due to his remark equating gay marriages to bestiality, is also causing a political debate in the United Kingdom where he is currently attending a conference in Oxford.
"It's modern politics. You've just got to cop it on the chin and get on with it. You do what you think is the right thing. There are a number of reports of what I've said that don't take it in the full context. Such is life," The Herald Sun quoted Mr Bernardi.
His arrival in Britain is described by some politicians as ill-timed because the Conservative Party is also divided over plans to legalise gay marriages.