20 Sep 2012

Australian Senate rejects same sex marriage

10:35 pm on 20 September 2012

The Australian Senate has joined the House of Representatives in voting down legislation aimed at allowing same-sex couples to marry.

The final vote on the bill introduced by Labor senators was 26 in favour and 41 against.

Labor senator Penny Wong, who is openly gay, described the result as disappointing and a failure of the Parliament to remove discrimination, the ABC reports.

"Despite the results in both the House of Representatives and the Senate this week, I believe we have achieved a great deal," she said.

"To the many supporters of marriage equality, I encourage you to continue to campaign for marriage equality in each state and federally."

On Wednesday, just 42 MPs in the Lower House supported a private member's bill put forward by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones while 98 MPs voted against.

The defeat of gay marriage legislation this week has prompted renewed debate about the merits of legislation to recognise same-sex civil unions.