Australia’s ruling party refuses vote on gay marriage bill

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Australia’s ruling party has rejected a push to allow politicians to decide whether the country should recognise gay marriage.

The conservative Liberal Party-led coalition was re-elected in July 2016 with a promise to let voters decide whether Australia should recognise same-sex marriage through a popular vote. But the Senate would not allow the so-called plebiscite.

A crisis meeting of Liberal politicians on Monday decided to try again to persuade the Senate to endorse the plebiscite before Parliament considers voting on legislation. The meeting rejected a proposal by Liberal colleague Dean Smith to allow a vote on a draft bill that would allow gay marriage now.

Finding policy agreement on the issue is a test of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s authority over his fragile government.

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