The Senate has rejected the same-sex marriage plebiscite 31-31, with the government failing to get the absolute majority win it needed to debate the bill a second time.

It means the government will likely move ahead with a postal vote, so if you haven’t yet enrolled to vote or need to update your address, DO SO HERE.

Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team opposed the restoration of the plebiscite bill, while the Coalition, Jacqui Lambie, Derryn Hinch, Lucy Gichuhi, David Leyonhjelm, One Nation and Cory Bernardi vote in favour of it.

During the debate, Labor Senator Penny Wong gave a passionate speech against the plebiscite, arguing that it would open up the LGBTQI community to hate speech from marriage equality opponents.

“Have a read about some of the things that are said about us and our families, and then come back and tell us that this is a unifying moment. The Australian Christian Lobby described our children as the Stolen Generation. We love our children. And I object to, as do every person who cares for our children and as do all those couples, same-sex couples who have kids, to being told our children are the Stolen Generation. You talk about unifying moments. It’s not a unifying moment. It’s exposing our children to that kind of hatred.

“And I would’t mind so much if you were prepared to speak out on it. If the Prime Minister was prepared to stand up and say, ‘That is wrong’. But what does he do? ‘Oh, it’s a dreadful reason to not trust the Australian people. Don’t be silly, of course we can have a sensible debate.’ Well maybe he should stand up for people who don’t have a voice. Because we know the sort of debate that is already there. And let me say, for many children in same-sex couple parented families, and for many young LGBT kids, this ain’t a respectful debate already.”

Image: Getty Images / Stefan Postles